Waterside at Lynnhaven residents still dealing with hurricane aftermath

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The struggles of homes flooded from Hurricane Matthew are hitting residents at Waterside at Lynnhaven.

40 apartments are damaged, and 38 of those were occupied. There is a lot of misery and hard feelings at the apartment complex.

Plenty of people are cleaning up, others are out of their homes, and on Friday, 10 On Your Side learned about more people who have to find completely new homes.

City officials were at the apartment complex Friday, and said the property owners are cooperating.

For Kenneth Mercer, home is where the heart is, but his home doesn’t feel much like one today.

“The money I have for my lost furniture,  and then I am having to figure out places to stay. I then am having to pay for places to stay, and then I won’t have any money to replace my furniture,” Mercer said while standing in the middle of a mostly empty apartment.

Mercer is not alone. 38 occupied apartments are damaged at Waterside at Lynnhaven.

Nicole Harris was filling a truck up with belongings Friday. She is on the move.

“Do I think they should pay for my hotel room? Yes. It’s not my fault, but it’s not theirs either, but they do own the property.”

WAVY’s Andy Fox asked Property Manager Gail Shaw, representing the new owners, Geller Associates, about that.

“We are working with the owners to get them back into their apartments as soon as possible.”

When asked if they were paying for residents to stay in hotels, Shaw answered, “that is something I cannot answer.”

Shaw then drove off in a golf cart with City Code Enforcement inspectors. They went door to door to see the damaged units.

Director of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation Andy Friedman said two households were previously vacant before the flood, so no one was affected there. 14 units are now vacant. Residents accepted offers to move to a Hampton property owned by the same company. Six units are now vacant because residents are now staying with relatives. One unit is vacant because the resident moved out. 17 units are still occupied.

“We are checking to determine if they are safe to stay in; if not, the owner has said he will make other arrangements for them,” Friedman said.

That is a total of 40 apartments affected by flooding waters.

In a letter, management tells residents to be out by 8 a.m. Monday and states repairs will be done in less than 15 days.

“They aren’t paying for our hotel, so that comes out of pocket, so we have no choice, but to come back to the apartment,” Mercer said. “We have nowhere to go. Our  options? Well, we have none.”

Mercer is out of options because he is out of money.  The previous owners paid for residents to stay in a motel. Ownership happened to transfer on Tuesday, and the new owners, Geller Associates, have not paid anything for residents to stay in motels, 10 On Your Side was told.

Mercer is also upset that current management put statements on doors telling them who owes what. Shaw said she had no comment on that.

Mercer is going to a lawyer on Monday. He isn’t sure what that will do, but thought he’d try it anyway.

“Look, I’ve lost it all, and my car, and now my rental car has to be turned in Sunday.”