Improvements made at Emery Gardens, residents still not satisfied
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Two weeks ago, KAKE on Your Side took a look at the living conditions at Emery Gardens Apartments after several calls and complaints about the building. Those problems included, among others, broken heating and air conditioning units, multiple walls covered in mold and other complaints that residents say haven't been addressed by building management for as long as they can remember.
Tenant Sarah Hegi told KAKE News she pays $825 to live at Emery Gardens. She complained to management about the living conditions both in her unit and throughout the complex several times, but nothing was done until KAKE brought the situation to the public’s eye.
When KAKE News first visited Hegi’s apartment, there were many problems, including a broken thermostat and a utility room with several exposed electrical wires.
The Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) is supposed to inspect any properties that receive Section 8 monies on a yearly basis, but those who live at the apartment said that it hasn’t happened.
After KAKE News placed a phone call to Michael Oyster, the owner of the property, he responded to resident’s concerns about poor living conditions by sending a crew of workers to address some of the issues.
Workers replaced the thermostat, but Hegi said that it still doesn’t work. The wires in her utility room are now covered, preventing electrocution. Still, she is unhappy with the results.
"They're just slight improvements, and it's within a long time frame. They still don't give me notice. They'll message me like five minutes before or they're knock on the door and be like hey, we're here to (fix the issue),” said Hegi.
In addition to exposed wires and a broken thermostat, Sarah also mentioned that there is mold throughout the building. She showed KAKE News several places where mold clearly covered the walls.
Another issue was the mold in the apartments downstairs from where Sarah lives.
When we spoke with the property manager of Emery Gardens, she told us improvements have been made. Sarah tells us a different story.
"They haven't done anything with the black mold or anything down in the apartment downstairs.”
KAKE News gave Oyster ten days to address the problems at his apartment. After the time passed, we reached out by phone again, but this time his mailbox was full and we were unable to leave a voicemail requesting an interview. Today, KAKE sent a text to his number at 10:19 a.m. and received a read response twelve minutes later. He didn’t message back.
Hegi tells KAKE that she is not paying May’s rent, and that she’s planning to move out. However, that has led to a roadblock with Emery Gardens.
"As of May 1, they were supposed to be giving me my first month, last month's rent, and my deposit back. But when I checked my account, they're telling me now I didn't pay my deposit," she said. "I had a $400 credit in my account, and they've taken that. And they're now charging me the $800 plus the $50 late fee."
As of the writing of this story, Michael Oyster has not returned our calls and the property manager referred us to Emery Gardens’ lawyer.
The lawyer has yet to respond to our request for an interview.