Condominium residents face woes

December 28, 2007 7:05:00 PM PST
Some residents at a condominium complex in Camden County are fed up with conditions, they say are not fit to live in. They say bugs, vagrants, even shootings on the streets, are a part of life at the Arborwood complex in Lindenwold. Out of the 620 units in Arborwood, just 100 are owner occupied. The rest are rental units.

Complaints range from a lack of heat and roach infestations to vagrants, taking over units.

"We could probably have bin Laden living there and not know,it," Lindenwold Mayor Frank De Luca said, "that's how devastating it is."

Mayor De Luca says Arborwood is in deep trouble and many residents agree. Resident Marcus Hundley says he uses a space heater because his thermostat rarely goes above 60.

As for roaches his landlord told him to spray with raid. "We pay $850 a month," Hundley said. "We have pestilence, there is no heat in the unit and the tub is leaking to the downstairs unit."

There are problems in common areas as well. Ed House is an 18-year condo owner. He points out filthy utility rooms that seem to only be used by vandals and graffiti artists.

"We're getting nothing for the 218 dollars a month we pay for the condo fee," House says. "We have leaky roofs, sewers backing up."

Meanwhile, police say there are signs of gang activity as well as drug dealing in the area. There were two shootings on Christmas Eve and two last month.

Deputy Chief Stan Lemayski is concerned that Lindenwold's police force is not really equipped for an influx of crime. "The criminal element is moving out to the suburbs," Lemayski says. "They're coming into the suburbs. A small town like Lindenwold doesn't have the resources to combat that problem. We're having a difficult time effectively dealing with that criminal element."

One resident said the threat of crime at the complex has gotten around and that just getting a pizza delivered is difficult. No one here is quite sure who makes up the condominium association. But the management company has changed and numerous action news calls have gotten no response.

Mayor De Luca says the residents are frustrated and doing what they can to get a response from the management.

"Most of the people, from what I understand, are putting their escrow fees condo fees into escrow accounts."

The mayor would like to see Arborwood knocked down and the site rebuilt. But hundreds of people live there and that won't be an easy task.