Tenants Fight For Their Rights Against Abusive Management at Trestletree Village Apartments

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photo by Gloria Tatum

Too many residents at Trestletree Village Apartments are having similar problems including sewage leaks, plumbing leaks, flooded apartments, mold, mildew, insect infestations, and electrical problems. Shane Johnson, the manager, is at the center of all the complaints and problems. Johnson ignores requests for repairs from tenants and instead of doing her job she has harassed residents with bogus lease violations and eviction threats.

Tenants are fed up with mistreatment from the Monroe management company under the leadership of Johnson who seeks retaliation against tenant leaders, community leaders, and residents who complain. 

They organized and formed the Trestletree United Tenants Association and after months of good faith negotiations that have gone nowhere, with Community Housing Concepts (CHC) and Monroe Group, the tenants have filed an official complaint with Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Johnson’s revenge includes telling Kingdom of Life church to stop assisting residents and to cease its outreach and services at the property and charging community organizations such as Housing Justice League and Parkside Equity Coalition with criminal trespassing. Johnson does not show up for agreed on meetings with the Tenants Association.

Tenants want the removal of property manager Shane Johnson who has disrespected the tenants and made their lives unbearable. They accuse Johson of treating them like criminals in their own apartment home.

Johnson’s dirty tricks even go so far as to create a competing “Trestletree Resident Council Committee” run by management. Her shady business practices have displaced families and replaced them with her personal friends.  

Forming a so-called resident organization under the control of a management company is against HUD regulations 24 CFR part 245 for multifamily housing projects. It is an impediment to residents attempting to exercise their rights.

These inhumane conditions and human right abuses of residents is happening in the midst of a deadly pandemic and high unemployment.  Many of these tenants are single mothers who are being threatened during this pandemic by management. These women are terrified that they will be evicted with their children and become homeless in the coldest part of winter. 

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photo by Gloria Tatum

Tenants Speak Out At A Rally For Tenants Rights

Miracle Fletcher detailed horrific plumbing issues, where fecal matter and sewage water came up through the bathtub drain while her children bathed and then flooded the entire apartment and every piece of furniture had to be thrown out.  Miracle, already immunocompromised in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, contracted a bacterial infection from exposure to the contaminated water, as reported in a press release from the tenants association. 

“We are treated in an inhumane manner, with no regard for the health and safety of myself or my children,” Fletcher said.

Kendi Beyah has lived at Trestletree for two years with her daughter.”I was recently electrocuted by a socket in another apartment with 110 volts shot through my body.  I have noticed my injuries were not immediate but gradual and management is trying to cover it up. The breaker box was just partially labeled and when fire rescue came out to look at the breaker box it shocked the fire marshall as well, Kendi Beyah told the Streets of Atlanta.   

Beyah also recently had a plumbing horror story when a pipe broke and raw sewage spewed on her floor and leaked down into her neighbor’s apartment.  They are trying to relocate Beyah and her daughter to another apartment.

“It’s very stressful having all these problems but management is only worried about harassing me or making me feel oppressed in my living situation. I have had repeated eviction notices and it puts you on edge because you don’t know if next month you will be put out and it’s getting cold and that is scary,” Beyah told Streets of Atlanta. 

Velissa Sims has lived at Trestletree for twelve years.”We have been having problems since we got our new manager Shane Johnson in 2017. Ever since there have been problems of harassment and eviction notice violations, maintenance problems that have not been solved, like floods in their apartment homes, and mold in my home for the past five years.  We ask for maintenance to do something about it but nothing is done.  I reported this to the code enforcement…..and they reported it to management and now they say they are getting ready to fix it,” Sims told the Streets of Atlanta. 

“I have three kids and we are all on medication because of the mold in our home that’s causing us to take long-term medication for the allergies we have from the mold,” Sims said.  

Latoicia Wyche has been a resident at Trestletree for ten years. “My apartment has mold and my lungs almost collapsed on me – myself and my kids suffer from bronchitis and allergies.  I moved to another apartment and it has mold as well. 

Every time I tried to get help, Johnson retaliated against me. She doesn’t care about us or how we are living. There is a leak in my kitchen sink with nothing but mold underneath the sink. I have been going through this for three years now,” Wyche told the Streets of Atlanta.

Tempestt Sims lives at Trestletree Apartments. “Everyone is on edge all the time.  Even if you pay your rent and utilities, you can look forward to some type of harassment.  It’s scary to know at any moment my home can be taken from me,” Sims said as reported on a press release from the rally. 

“I have dealt with horrible maintenance issues.  We are asking for a safe living environment for our children. They are violating our rights to organize and reach out to other organizations.  We are educating ourselves on our rights,”  another resident who lives at Trestletree Apartment said.

“I have had repeated problems with management since I got here with excessive fees. They are charging more than 30% of what HUB allows on income adjustment on rent, a resident said at the rally for tenants rights.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree and outdoor, text that says 'Trestletree United Tenants Association We have a voice!!!! Stand up and fight back!!!!'
photo by Gloria Tatum

So many tenants can’t be wrong and Johnson be right. 

Here are the Demands from the Trestletree United Tenants Association

1. An end to eviction threats and excessive, unfounded lease violations.

2. An end to consistent mistreatment, harassment, and intimidation by current management.

3.  Widespread maintenance requests are to be addressed not ignored (i.e. addressing water leaks, sewage leaks, illness-causing mildew, and mold, plumbing, wall peeling, insect infestations, electrical problems, etc.)

4. A complete change of staffing to replace the current management, primarily the removal of property manager Shane Johnson.

5. Cease all efforts by Monroe Group to start a competing “Trestletree Residents Council” run by management. 

The targeted, mean-spirited stereotyping and mistreatment of Trestletree Residents must stop.  Residents want property managers, who want to work with them, not against them.

By Gloria Tatum

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