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Disparti Law Group Wins For Mother of 2 Boarded Up In Harvey Apartment

Stacy Price along with several other tenants in Harvey, IL woke up to banging sounds one morning and discovered they were trapped in a boarded-up apartment. Price had to break down the boarded-up window and climb through with her two kids ages 2 and 7 to escape.

Price lived there for 2 years enduring unsafe living conditions such as deteriorated stairs and balconies and high criminal activity. When the City of Harvey finally condemned the building, tenants were being forced to vacate. However, many tenants felt the property owners did not adequately notify and prepare them for their impending eviction, many of whom were on Section 8 and could not move on a whim.

Ms. Price contacted Disparti Law Group to discuss the financial and emotional impact the ordeal had on her family. Big or small, our firm fights for what is right. And, Attorney Jamaal Buchanan and his team did just that by negotiating a settlement for Stacy and her family to help ease the financial strain of moving.

image of the deteriorating apartment building

In This Article:

Disorder and Confusion Notifying Tenants of Evictions

The City of Harvey gave several warnings to repair the poor living conditions. While the property owners claim to have had plans to make the necessary reservations, the buildings were still uninhabitable.

Leading up to the day Stacy Price and the other tenants were boarded up in their homes, both the owners and the city failed to adequately notify or prepare tenants for the imminent condemnation of the apartment building. Price recalled people asking days before if the building was getting boarded up, but many were still unsure. She and several other tenants report never being notified of the boarding.

Another tenant, 73-year-old Rudolph Williams was also trapped in his home after crews boarded him up inside. No one checked each of the units to confirm residents evacuated the building. Both Williams and Price along with several other tenants were on Section 8, meaning that it takes a minimum of one month to be approved for a new residence.

Mother and Her 2 Children Trapped in Boarded Home in Harvey, IL

It’s hard to imagine the terror of opening the door to your home only to find a bolted-in plank of wood. The morning Stacy Price and her two children were trapped in their boarded-up apartment will not soon be forgotten by them. She had to kick her way out of the unit to free herself and her children. Fortunately, her kids’ father had left to grab food before they started the boarding and was able to help pull the boards off upon his return.

Her kids were badly scraped up while escaping through the window. Both children now have had difficulty sleeping and have been traumatized by the event. The whole ordeal could have been avoided had the situation been handled more appropriately.

Tenants needed assistance and ample time and notice to move as people experiencing housing insecurity. Packing up and going to a hotel or paying a security deposit for a new apartment was simply not an option. After Price reached out to our firm detailing what she and her family went through, we knew something had to be done.

Disparti Law Group Negotiates Settlement on Tenant’s Behalf

By the time Ms. Price reached out to us, she was still living in the apartment and her eviction proceedings were underway. After receiving a significant amount of attention from the press for the boarding, the property owners eventually made a 5-day offer to Price. The original deal offered was to cover any back rent as well as offer only 1 month’s rent in cash, part of a “Cash for Keys” program. But with this agreement, she would have had to move immediately.

After some negotiation, a more favorable agreement emerged. Stacy would be given more time to surrender the property, granting her a month to find new accommodations under Section 8. The burden of back rent would be waived, and she would receive not one but two months’ worth of rent in cash. As small as this victory may seem, it was big to Price and her family. With the additional time and money, it might’ve meant the difference between her family having a roof over their head and being unhoused.

Reasons Why an Apartment Building Can Be Condemned

When a property is condemned, it means that the local government has deemed it unfit for human habitation and individuals are prohibited from living inside the building. By the time an apartment building is condemned, it’s often an indication that several issues have gone unresolved for too long.

Here are a few reasons why an apartment building might be condemned:

  • Structural Issues: Failing foundation, compromised roof, or deteriorating walls.
  • Code Violations: Violations of building codes and regulations, such as inadequate plumbing, improper electrical wiring, inadequate plumbing, or lack of fire safety measures.
  • Health Hazards: The presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos, mold, or unsanitary conditions.
  • Neglect or Disrepair: Failure to maintain the building and neglecting necessary repairs and maintenance resulting in uninhabitable conditions.
  • Overcrowding or Illegal Units: Violations of occupancy limits or zoning regulations.
  • Fire Damage or Safety Hazards: Buildings that have suffered extensive fire damage or contain safety hazards that pose a risk of fire (i.e. blocked exits or faulty wiring).
  • Noncompliance with Orders: If the property owner fails to address previous violations or comply with orders from the city to rectify problems within a specified timeframe, the city may take action to condemn the building as a last resort

While the city may condemn a building for your safety, property owners still must take the proper steps to legally evict tenants, giving adequate time to find alternative housing. In some cases, they may be obligated to offer compensation. With the negotiation skills of her attorney, Price was offered more compensation than what was originally offered.

Injuries Caused By Landlord Negligence

A landlord should ensure that their tenants have a safe place to live. The city will often give several warnings to a property owner if there appear to be hazards in the building. However, it should also be in the landlord’s best interest to quickly respond to these warnings and fix these hazards as they may be held liable for any injuries that occur on their property in any common areas.

That means that if, for example, a tenant or guest slips and falls on broken stairs that the landlord clearly neglected to fix, they may have to pay damages for their injuries. A landlord may also be liable for injuries caused by unsafe living conditions such as faulty wiring, mold, or lack of heat.

If you were injured at your apartment complex due to some hazard that the landlord neglected to fix, you may have a premises liability case. Stacy Price and her family were lucky they did not suffer even more severe injuries after being boarded up in their homes. Had it been any worse — and it could have — the property owners or even the City might have been liable for the injuries and likely would have had to pay damages for expenses such as medical bills or even lost wages.

Contact a personal injury lawyer at Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers today if you were injured due to your landlord or property owner’s negligence. Call (312) 600-6000 for a FREE consultation and find out why thousands say… Larry wins!

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The Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers is one of the most successful law firms serving the greater Chicago and Tampa areas. As the leader in Injury, Disability, Workers’ Comp, and Employment Law, with more than $1 Billion in recoveries, The Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers has been named One of the Most Influential Law Firms in America by Trial Lawyer Magazine.

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