Columbus Reaches Settlement In Lawsuit Against Apartment Company
Columbus leaders say they’ve reached a settlement to resolve the largest public nuisance lawsuit in the city’s history.
The agreement announced Tuesday imposes several conditions on AMG Realty Group, which owns three large apartment complexes containing 802 units.
The settlement covers all units at the Mayfair Apartments on East Broad Street, the Hartford on the Lake complex on the Southeast Side, and the Fitzroy Apartments off Morse Road on the North Side.
The City Attorney’s lawsuit, which was filed in September, cited AMG for an “extensive history of continued violations” of city housing, nuisance abatement, health, sanitation and safety codes. It sought to have AMG pay code violation fines, which started accumulating in June at a rate of $1,000 a day.
“Our settlement with AMG, which now has the full force of a court order, is a comprehensive and very specific set of measures that should greatly improve the living conditions for the residents of these buildings,” said City Attorney Zach Klein said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate AMG and their counsel for working with us in good faith to come up with an equitable solution that focuses on what really matters, and that’s the quality of life of their tenants.”
The settlement requires AMG to resolve all outstanding code violations in a timely manner. It also requires AMG to:
- Pay a $50,000 fine, which will go to the city’s Eviction Protection program.
- Adhere to a compliance schedule to resolve additional notices of violation that were issued at the premises after the city’s lawsuit was filed in September.
- Conduct proactive maintenance assessments for pest control and all plumbing systems at the premises; all related actions must be done as soon as is practicable and documentation must be provided to the city within 14 days.
- Provide quarterly maintenance questionnaires to all tenants.
- Maintain onsite offices at all three apartment complex locations weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Translation services, if necessary, also must be provided.
- Employ a minimum number of 15 maintenance staff who are assigned to the three locations. An emergency/after-hours maintenance contact person also must be provided to city code enforcement officials.
- Retain “replacement reserves” for maintenance expenses of not less than $450 per unit, per year.
- Develop and adopt maintenance tracking procedures. These measures include maintenance request forms submitted by paper, email, text or phone; creating tracking numbers; and defining strict time frames to respond and remedy maintenance requests.
- Follow clearly defined refuse collection guidelines.
- Ensure that daily litter-pickup of the entire grounds takes place at all three locations.
- Hire private security guards who must be posted at the premises at all three locations. A primary security contact also must be designated for the Columbus Division of Police.