New owners, old tenants, fresh problems

FORT WAYNE, Ind (WANE) – Bed bugs and no hot water are just some of the problems residents at a Fort Wayne apartment complex have been facing this weekend.

Tenants living at 609 and 615 Fry Street said last Thursday they woke up to no hot water for showers. Then, when some of them tried turning on their stove for breakfast, they realized that wasn’t an option either. When they reached out to their landlords, the tenants were told they’ll have to live in those conditions for a few more days. They’re upset because they said they’ve paid their rent, and this shouldn’t be happening.

“They’re telling us to suffer, so that’s what I’ve been doing,” said Dave Hundley, the maintenance man for the building.

The landlords have only had the property for around 10 days and said this is their first time owning property. They said they had problems transferring most of the utilities into their names. They said they paid the gas company last Tuesday and have the receipts to prove it. They said the gas company told them it will be turned back on by this upcoming Tuesday. However, when residents called Sunday afternoon, the company told them there wasn’t a date for the gas to be turned back on. The landlords said they’re not sure why the company would say that but said they’re going to call and get it sorted out.

In addition to the gas being turned off, residents are also dealing with a bed bug infestation. One tenant said she came home from the hospital to find all of her belongings in the trash because of the problem.

“It’s not good living conditions for my kids,” said tenant, Heidi Kruckeberg.

The landlords said they feel as if they were scammed because they weren’t alerted to the gravity of the bed bug problem. However, Judith Baxter who’s a partial owner of  R2J2 Properties, LLC, the company that owns the building, said the problem isn’t as bad as the residents make it seem.

“They’re not without food,” she said. “They all have microwave ovens, so they can cook. They have water, the water is on. I’ll admit that it’s cold.”

However, residents said that’s not possible for all of them. “I have very little income,” Kruckeberg said. “I don’t have the option to microwave food, that gets expensive.”

The landlords said they’ve poured thousands of dollars into the property already but agree it’s a bad situation.

“I apologized repeatedly because I don’t like people going without,” Baxter said.

The tenants said building code is supposed to be coming to the property Monday morning. As for the landlords, they said this has all been a big lesson in entrepreneurship.

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