LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Controversy over the living conditions at the Big Country Chateau continues, and the clock is ticking for the apartment owners to fix hundreds of violations.
Property management was given seven days to fix more than 300 life safety violations, and that time period is set to end Thursday, August 11.
The city’s inspection to check on this did have to be delayed to early next week, according to the Director of Housing and Neighborhood Programs, but so far, two tenants said they are seeing changes.
Thomasina Mathis lives at Big Country Chateau. Two weeks ago, when Little Rock city officials came to inspect the apartment complex, she said her apartment had roaches and other issues.
She was planning to move at the time but now she feels differently.
“I got a new smoke detector, and my landlord- he’s fixing everything,” she said.
On August 4, property management was given seven days to fix 337 life-safety violations and 30 days to fix 975 non-life safety violations.
Howard said if all the violations have not been addressed the apartment owner will be cited and appear in court.
“Give him a break,” Mathis said, referring to the apartment manager. “Give him time to fix everything.”
The manager declined to go on camera but said many residents are months behind on rent and owe thousands of dollars.
He adds that it is hard to fix issues when the complex is getting no money from so many tenants, so the owners are having to re-allocate money to afford certain changes.
“I’m thankful to have a roof over my head,” said another tenant, Cherie Caster. “I thought I was going to have to move and I didn’t know where I was going.”
Caster said in her apartment, any issues she has had have been addressed, including the roaches in her apartment that have now been sprayed.
Director of Housing and Neighborhood Programs, Kevin Howard said the number of violations is not necessarily abnormal for such a big complex, and so far, it appears that inspection might look different than the first.
“Since that time period, we probably have not received as many calls as we did initially,” Howard said.
Violations aside — tenants originally learned their electricity and water would be shut off September 1.
Caster and Mathis both said they have heard that neither will be shut off anymore and that it is being handled by management.
However, a spokesperson for Entergy said there is no change of status and Big Country Chateau’s electricity is still set to shut off on September 1.
We have not learned of any updates from the water department either.