January 25, 2022

Owners of neglected Indianapolis apartment complex face more litigation

Burned out building at Lakeside Point. (Jill Sheridan WYFI)

Burned out building at Lakeside Point. (Jill Sheridan WYFI)

The city of Indianapolis plans to file a lawsuit against owners of a northside apartment complex that has been neglected.

For years, tenants of Lakeside Pointe apartments in Nora have gone through existing channels to file hundreds of complaints. Residents there deal with mold, no heat or hot water, crumbling ceilings, fire damage, sewer problems and other health violations. Many residents here are refugees. Owners and property managers at Lakeside Pointe have consistently ignored or refused requests.

The city has tried to hold bad actor landlords responsible but, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett  said, state statute doesn’t help.

“Under current law what has been less certain is the scope of the City’s authority to sue an owner when a pattern of violations adds up to a public nuisance,” Hogsett said.

Legislation currently being considered at the Statehouse could help clarify existing law.

Leaders said at any given time there have been about 60 active cases concerning the property.
Lakeside Pointe has been cited numerous times for violations of the Unsafe Building Law, Indianapolis’ vacant building standards and zoning infractions.  The city has also responded to a dozen fires at the complex since 2017.  

A joint letter from the city of Indianapolis and the Marion County Public Health Department Owners gives owners of the neglected property until the end of the month to resolve issues before the lawsuit is filed.

Indiana Legal Services Brandon Beeler said tenant habitat building complaints are challenging to pursue.

“Bad actor landlords are aware of the challenges tenants face in asserting habitability claims on their own and will prey on the most vulnerable of tenants,” Beeler said.

Beeler said tenants have little protection.

“In the worst of cases we have seen Marion County courts evict tenants because they could not afford to pay their rent because they had to spend their own money to make repairs in their rental units,” he said.

Another lawsuit filed by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita against the property owners is held up in court.

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