Rokita sues firms for dangerous conditions at two Indy apartment complexes

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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed suit Tuesday against a New Jersey-based affordable housing not-for-profit and a New York-based property manager for poor conditions at two Indianapolis apartment complexes.

Rokita is taking aim at Fox Lake AHF Inc. and Aloft Mgt LLC for “their respective roles in allowing the Fox Club and Lakeside Pointe apartment complexes in Indianapolis to fall into egregious disrepair, endangering the health and welfare of thousands of residents,” according to a media release from Rokita’s office.

Located in the Nora neighborhood at 9000 N. College Ave., Lakeside Pointe consists of 588 units on a 41-acre site. Fox Club Apartments, consisting of 336 units on 29 acres, is located at 4401 S. Keystone Ave.

Fox Lake, based in New Jersey, owns both complexes. Aloft, based in New York, is the property manager of Lakeside Pointe.

Fox Lake has received more than 600 notices of violation from the Marion County Public Health Department since 2017, the release said. The problems include failure to provide hot water, air conditioning and heat, as well as failure to address mold, plumbing and sewage issues, missing screens, and scattered trash.

Residents at Lakeside Pointe have experienced fires, lack of heat and air conditioning, water damage, mold, broken windows, and other conditions that have rendered their homes uninhabitable or nearly uninhabitable, Rokita’s office said in a media release.

After Fox Lake racked up an estimated $1 million-plus bill with Citizens Energy Group, residents at both apartments were at risk of water shutoff, which would leave the complexes legally uninhabitable and result in their displacement, according to the suit.

The state alleges that Fox Lake isn’t able to fulfill its not-for-profit purpose of providing affordable housing and that it and Aloft have “engaged in gross neglect” by continuing to take rent payments without putting them towards maintenance or utility bills.

Utility costs are included in rent at both complexes.

The state also claims that Aloft hasn’t maintained a state license as a real estate brokerage.

IBJ was unable to immediately reach representatives of Fox Lake and Aloft early Tuesday afternoon.

Rokita’s office is asking a judge to appoint a receiver over Fox Lake for the purpose of managing the operations of the Lakeside Pointe and Fox Club, as well as to award civil penalties for various violations of state law.

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14 thoughts on “Rokita sues firms for dangerous conditions at two Indy apartment complexes

    1. It’s nice that Rokita is taking small action since the state legislature took away the ability for Indianapolis to go after landlords.

  1. Government stupidity at its finest. 600 health violations since 2017 and a $1M water bill that everyone else will absorb and the government stumbles into “action”. I’m sure that lawsuit will show em….

  2. This was one of the classiest places to live when I moved from Ft Wayne in 1975. It was filled with you professionals and it’s so sad, but this is what happens with absentee ownership.

    1. Same can be said of Lakeside Pointe. In the 70’s, that complex was one of the better apartment complexes.

  3. I agree with Richard. I don’t know much about Lakeside Pointe, but Fox Club was THE place to live in the mid to late 70s. Unless ownership takes an active role in complex management, places like this will fall in to a state of disrepair. Unfortuanley, there are also a lot of absentee investment companies that buy places like this just to bleed the cash out of them and then let them go into receivership. Rokita hasn’t been in office that long so I’m glad he’s giving the situation attention.

  4. Several local churches in the Nora community have been working for years to advocate on behalf of the residents for improvements at Lakeside Pointe. This has been previously documented in the local media. Great news the AG is now working to hopefully get the horrendous conditons fixed and force out the terrible ownership.

  5. I think ALL LANDLORDS should be held accountable for the disrepair of their rental property. It affects us all . The neighborhood declines and so do the property values. And worse, crimes goes up in an area where it looks like no one cares.

  6. The unfortunate truth is that, absent government subsidies, owners (whether for-profit or nonprofit) of low to moderate income rental properties are going to encounter difficulties maintaining their properties to the quality expected by third parties with no dollars at stake. Municipalities should have (and exercise) the power to enforce basic health and safety requirements, but beyond that there is little that can be done when additional money invested in the properties won’t generate decent market returns. The only answer may be that the nonprofits complaining about run down properties or a government housing agency need to pony up the dollars required to fix the cosmetic problems by taking ownership of these properties and managing them according to acceptable standards. As the need for decent low and moderate income housing options escalate, the louder the complaints from people who don’t have a clue about how to address the problem and have no stake in its resolution. In the meantime, the problem goes unaddressed by those who do have the knowledge and the means, but lack the will or the incentive to deal with it.

  7. Reprehensible this (or any) company has been allowed to operate in this manner for so long. Putting the health and welfare of so many while these P.O.S. landlords collect GOVERNMENT rent vouchers on this “not-for-profit”. Special place for these people down the road, but the legal posturing and threats by the health department don’t correct the squalor these residents are subject to. There is WAY more to this story but hope local media will keep a spotlight on this matter. City “leadership” in this / similar matters does not exist.

  8. I worked with a guy who lived a Lakeside Pointe for 4 years. His heat went out during the winter and they gave him a space heater! The furnace was never repaired. Absolutely insane. He moved the next year anticipating more issues. I feel sorry for the people living there, but unfortunately most don’t have a choice. It’s all they can afford.