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'They just forgot us': Tenants at the Walker-Daniel House highlight safety issues and lack of property management

Posted at 10:56 PM, Jan 18, 2022

BALTIMORE — We’re working to get answers for the people who live at 2100 Madison Avenue.

Those who spoke out told WMAR-2 News property management, The Towner Management Company, ignore maintenance requests, adding there’s always a money excuse.

“They’re very shady,” said tenant Lanetta Moore. “There have been several instances where they can come and see if we’re okay. They just forgot about us.”

Moore is referencing a Thanksgiving crime that occurred at the building. Baltimore City Police were on scene investigating.

“They knew what was happening,” said Moore. “They had forensics here but for our property management to tell us they have no knowledge of it, that’s just odd.”

All the tenants who spoke to WMAR had a similar message.

“There’s no communication,” said one tenant. “They have their office across the street and that’s it."

Signs of things falling apart can be seen in almost every corner of the building, right down to the front door.

“There’s no lock,” said Carlo Strauwder. “Anyone could walk in. There’s no lock on anything. Anyone can just walk in here. There’s also no lights out there. I don’t feel safe in my own building.”

No locking device means anyone can get into the building, after all, an unlocked door is inviting.

In fact, during an interview an unknown young person was seen walking around the building. When acknowledged he just walked away.

We asked tenants if they’ve brought these concerns to management.

“Nobody answers the phone there," said Johnson. “Nobody answers the phone unless its rent time. You have to have money in order to be seen.”

WMAR reached out to both Baltimore City’s Department of Housing and Community Development along with The Towner Management Company.

A DHCD representative said they're aware of at least three complaints, many of which have not been corrected or addressed.

In a statement to WMAR, Whitney Seeburge, President and CEO of Towner Property Management Company said they will have someone out to the property on Wednesday to address discrepancies.

Seeburg’s full statement read:

“We cannot comment on the concerns of any specific resident, but we can comment on the building.

2100 Madison Avenue was fully inspected by HUD during a REAC inspection in July 2021; it passed the inspection. There were no structural deficiencies or life-threatening health and safety issues noted during the inspection.

Yesterday, a water pipe burst in the community room at the building. Residents initially called the fire department, who arrived and turned off the water to the building. On the Martin Luther King holiday, Towner Management maintenance personnel responded within 45 minutes of being notified of the burst pipe. We completed emergency repairs on the pipe and restored water to the building within 3 – 4 hours. A city inspector was there this morning to inspect the emergency repair. There is still some work left to be done and water to be removed from the building. The inspector gave us until the 26th to complete that work. Unfortunately, it takes some time to completely remove water and fix a burst pipe, but we are committed to fully completing the repair in a timely manner for our residents.

You noted that the front door to the building has been damaged. Our Maintenance Director has repaired the front door 4 times in the past year. Unfortunately, people keep breaking the front door lock to gain entry to the building. Our Maintenance Director has been working with an outside locksmith to explore a more durable locking mechanism. There have been Covid-related delays in getting the new locking systems selected and installed. Any resident who witnesses a trespasser in the building should immediately call the police. Trespassing is criminal matter for law enforcement. We encourage any resident who sees criminal activity in the building or in the neighborhood to immediately call 911.

“They have no idea what’s going on here,” said one tenant. “We just need someone to step in and help us. We’re not animals. We’re human beings."

On Wednesday afternoon, Seeburg sent out a statement saying that sent a team to do an "in depth inspection of the common areas and to document any deficiencies."

Her full statement can be read below:

This morning, we sent a team to the building to conduct an in depth inspection of the common areas and exterior and to document any deficiencies. We are notifying all residents in writing that we will be conducting inspections of all units before January 26th. We are required to provide advance notice before entering a resident’s apartment. Once we have a list of all necessary repairs in the building, we will prioritize them and address them to maximize the efficient use of contractors.

Today, we installed fans and dehumidifiers to remove the water from the pipe burst on Monday. We also finished capping the pipe and prepared the area for a drywall vendor to come and finish the repair this week. Unfortunately, a hot water heater burst in the building this morning, so we spent a significant amount of time handling that emergency. We have cleaned up the water from that emergency and have scheduled contractors to come repair the damage to the subfloor from the water and install a new hot water heater.

We have called contractors to come work on the building. Tomorrow, a contractor is coming to inspect and recommend a new entry system. We are also working on securing interior doors. The hole in the historical storefront will be boarded up in the next 2 days. Because the storefront is subject to historical preservation laws, it must be boarded up in a way that does not damage it. We have a special contractor coming out to ensure that the repair is completed in accordance with CHAP regulations. Because we must comply with CHAP regulations, it is not a simple repair.

We have reset the exterior lighting for the building, in the hopes that the timer was the cause of the lighting issues. We will see tonight if the lighting comes on properly. If it does not, we will continue to troubleshoot this issue.

We have called our security contractor to request increased security presence around the building in the night. We continue to encourage all residents to report criminal activity to the police.