WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — As Irma Foltz tells it, living in Lincoln Lawns Apartments is a bit like living on an obstacle course.
“This thing fell down on me, and then the light did,” she told 24 Hour News 8, pointing to the ceiling tile above the shower in her apartment.
In the second-floor, one-bedroom apartment she shares with her husband, she pulled back a piece of plastic used to cover a portion of the heater along the baseboard.
“As you can see, they’re not covered properly anyways. Like, it’s really dangerous, ’cause those metal things can cut you really bad.” she said, referring to the exposed metal fins on the heater.
The problems aren’t limited to her room, Foltz said.
“I used to help him (the owner) clean rooms, so that’s why I seen a lot of this stuff,” she said.
“He just started putting the smoke alarms in yesterday when the fire chief came. Some of the rooms didn’t even have them,” she continued.
After nearly two years living in the building on Lake Michigan Drive near Lincoln Lawns Neighborhood Park and with few of the problems corrected, Foltz simply stopped paying her rent, giving the owner a legal reason to evict her. But her complaints got some results. After contacting Walker officials, inspectors with several departments from fire to building to county health came knocking at Lincoln Lawns.
Immediate health and safety concerns were addressed when the owner replaced the missing smoke detectors. Other problems led to return visits from inspectors. Each of the 30 rooms in the building are being inspected.
“The city has to look at it. They’ll give me a list and we’re going to take care (of it),” Lincoln Lawns owner Mike Patel said when 24 Hour News 8 asked about the inspections.
Patel said the complaints are the result of Foltz’s eviction. He called most of what inspectors are finding — much of it based on residents’ reports — “minor.”
So why didn’t he simply fix the problems before the inspection?
“It’s always the minor,” he said, “anywhere you go, there’s minor somewhere.”
Foltz sees it another way.
“I just don’t think it’s right to take advantage of people when they’re down on their luck. I really don’t. And I feel that’s the situation here,” Foltz said.
Walker officials say it’s too early to talk about potential fines. Depending on what they find in their next wave of inspections, Patel will have a set amount of time to fix the issues before inspectors come back and verify the corrections.