Garden Circle Apartment residents moved out of motels

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Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 8:14 PM EST
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SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - The Garden Circle Apartment tenants who were removed from their homes nearly two weeks ago were kicked out of their motel rooms on Monday. Forty-seven tenants were relocated from the Apartment Complex to Sumter area motels after shutting down the building.

“We are trying to find out what’s going on,” resident Kason Brown said, adding “We are trying to find some help.”

“We’re trying to figure out where we’re going,” another resident said, adding, “We were so nervous last night we went and put money together for at least one room.”

The complex was blamed for not having working fire suppression equipment and a malfunctioning elevator. And after two weeks of staying in motels, tenants were told apartment management was no longer paying for the rooms.

“Day by day, (we’ve been) either waiting for someone to give us a call or we go down to the office and they let us know if we have another day,” Brown said, adding, “(I) need to pick up more clothing if we (aren’t) going to be in the building.”

Property Manager Raquel Valencia says they were no longer able to pay for the rooms. Valencia says the timetable changes day by day but hopes to have the tenants back in their homes by Tuesday.

“We all want the same finality; we all want everyone to be safe in their homes as quick as possible,” Valencia said, adding, “We all have a different piece to the process, and everyone involved has to make sure that piece is done correctly, so I think that’s what’s made the process tedious; I think that’s where communications has been strained.”

On two separate occasions in the last two weeks, WIS told tenants would return to their homes the following day and it didn’t happen. The City of Sumter provided a written statement in response saying:

“The City of Sumter is aware of a local matter involving life-safety issues within a privately-owned Sumter apartment complex. Due to accessibility deficiencies on site, the building must remain closed for the time being. We are currently working with the owner of the facility to incorporate a solution that ensures the safety of all inhabitants.   The City of Sumter is dedicated to serving our citizens and cooperating with all entities to provide assurance on this matter.”

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