Three reporters and an investigations editor from the AJC spent more than a year and a half investigating neglected apartment complexes across the Atlanta metro area. What they found were residents trapped in horrifyingly unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Serious crime is rampant and often left unchecked. Accidental fires from decayed infrastructure sent children to the hospital. Rats infest walls and ceilings.
Roughly three-quarters of these neglected apartment complexes belong to out-of-state investors who perform the bare minimum in cosmetic “improvements” before selling them off for a tidy profit. Meanwhile, rents increase even as the properties crumble.
The list of 272 dangerous dwellings was compiled based on four key factors:
- Crime - Total crimes or violent crimes compared with the number of units.
- Fire - Multiple fires, fire injuries, or fire safety violations.
- Condition - Based on code complaints, inspection findings, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) scores, Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) reports, and AJC visits.
- Hazards - Serious threats such as gas leaks, severe structural defects, etc.
Reporters scoured five metro counties and 20 cities, all while sifting through a mountain of inconsistent and disorganized crime and code-enforcement data.
Their findings showed regular complaints to code-enforcement agencies about trash, hazardous debris, lack of lighting in stairwells, unstable balconies, broken entry gates, and other dangers.
Persistent neglect of these properties has fostered an environment where non-residents feel like they can commit crimes and other violence without consequences. So on top of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, residents were (and continue to be) subjected to homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies, rapes, gun battles, and drive-by shootings.
When Negligence Leads to Injury
Property owners owe their residents a clean, safe, and secure place to live. Unfortunately, Georgia only requires apartment managers to do the bare minimum when it comes to property security and maintenance.
This means that becoming injured on an apartment complex’s grounds is not enough of a reason to sue. The victim must prove that their injuries — due to an aggravated assault, a shooting, a fire, etc. — resulted from the property owner’s failure to address the security issues that allowed the crime or unsafe conditions to happen.
For example, say there have been multiple break-ins and assaults in an apartment complex, but the property managers never update their security practices (such as installing working cameras, fixing lighting issues, increasing patrols, etc.). A person intending harm enters the property through a broken gate and assaults a tenant in a dark stairwell. The tenant can point to the lax security measures as the cause for the attack and their injuries. This may be reason enough to justify filing a personal injury claim against the apartment complex and owners.
Consult With a Negligent Security Lawyer
It took months of research by data specialists to compile crime and code violation data for the list of dangerous dwellings.
An injured person and their family will not have the time, energy, or legal resources to investigate and assemble a negligent security case. They need a personal injury attorney who is an expert in negligent and inadequate security law.
People deserve to feel safe in their homes and community. When the property manager of an apartment complex fails in this duty to provide a secure environment, they deserve to face the consequences for their lack of care.
Enduring an assault or losing a loved one to gun violence is a traumatic and life-changing experience. The police may never find the attacker. Even if they do, the violent assault has left you or a family member suffering from terrible injuries and expensive medical bills.
Contact our team of experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers for a free consultation about your negligent security case. We have the resources and expertise to investigate and save crucial evidence.
With us in your corner, property owners can’t ignore you. Hiring our law firm sends the message that apartment managers can’t get away with neglecting the residents they’re supposed to serve.