BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Several families are living in temporary housing in Bay Saint Louis after issues at their apartment complex displaced them. Now, the apartment's attorney is speaking about the issue and what's next for the residents.
It was an early morning shock for several residents of the Waverly Apartments in Bay Saint Louis when authorities rushed them out of their units due to a cave-in on the landing just outside their doors.
In the days since then, the building has undergone extensive inspections according to the property's attorney, Malcolm Jones.
"We think that this is just a construction method that just didn't last as long as it should," said Jones.
According to Jones, the complex was built in the early 90s.
"There was no building code back then. There were no building inspections that were done. It was in the county. It was not annexed into the city at that time," he said.
The property has seen recent renovations since becoming a part of the city. Those renovations have complied with city building codes according to Jones. But, he said the landing that is now caving in wasn't rebuilt, which kept it from having to be inspected.
As for the displaced residents, Jones said the apartment owner is paying for their temporary placements in local hotels.
"Because, let's face it, it's around the holidays. It's a bad time to be temporarily moved out of your house," said Jones.
But what about repairs? Jones said plans are underway to replace all of the complex's concrete landings with wooden ones. And as for the flooring of the actual residential units? Jones said engineers haven't found any issues there. But, to be safe, the owner is getting those foundations reinforced.
One resident said there was a flood in 2012 that may have been to blame for the current issues, and possible problems down the road. But Jones said that flood didn't cause the problems that the complex now faces.
According to Jones, the rest of the units and buildings have been thoroughly checked.
"All of those units have now been inspected by engineers and none of them have been determined to be unsafe," he said.
Jones said the displaced families will soon be offered other units on the property and the complex owner is working to provide a period of free rent for those impacted.