Group of North Columbia renters face uncertain future after gas leak

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Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 6:12 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A group of tenants in north Columbia is stuck between a city evacuation order, a non-communicative management company, and the prospect of having to relocate.

They live in apartment units at 1218 Hyatt Avenue. Columbia city officials confirmed code enforcement and the Columbia Richland Fire Department were called to the property last week, finding a gas leak and code violations.

WIS has requested a submitted Freedom of Information request for specific information on the extent of the gas leak and code violations. Residents tell WIS the gas (and as a result the heat) has been cut off in some units, but how many units remains unclear.

In the aftermath, the city’s code enforcement division left evacuation notices on the doors of some of the tenants. It mandated they leave the property by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

It’s unclear how many tenants were provided a note, but residents told WIS some were not impacted.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 14, at least two tenants with notices to leave remain at the property. Cynthia Joyner is one of them.

She said she lacks the resources to pick up and move quickly.

“It’s very hard and strange you know when you’re paying your rent money for people to, excuse me, for people to take advantage and you call them and expecting that you’re going to get some kind of response and you’re not getting nothing,” she said.

It’s unclear if the city has provided Joyner or her neighbor Terrence Cunningham with an extension to stay at the property.

Cunningham expressed similar concerns about the ability to move.

“Our plan is to just see what comes next. This has been a very stressful and emotional experience,” he said.

They tell WIS the management company has largely been non-responsive in the aftermath of the gas leak.

Richland County records show the property is owned by the Brooklyn-based Indigo 52 LLC.

S.C. Secretary of State records show its local agent is the Texas-based Registered Agent Solutions but provide a Lexington County address.

WIS went to the address, finding a man who said he accepts mail and legal services on behalf of Registered Agent Solutions for Indigo 52.

Registered Agent Solutions declined to provide WIS information on how to contact Indigo 52. Attempts to contact the company with the phone numbers provided to tenants were unsuccessful as well.

The Columbia non-profit Building Better Communities has been in contact with residents to help facilitate resources.

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