The snipers were on that rooftop, and that one over there,” said a long-time resident. Over the years, Sandalwood Apartments, in East Charlotte, has seen more than its share of crime. It wasn’t always that way, though. Twenty-five years ago, when some of the oldest residents moved in, Sandalwood was a model community with well-maintained lawns, a playground for the kids and almost zero crime.
Today, the playground has been dismantled going on two years and drug deals and prostitution are the norm. While this decline is disturbing for newer tenants, it’s heartbreaking for those who remember the “good old days.”
Worse than the drugs, violence and prostitution outside is the condition of many apartments on the inside. Carpets that haven’t been replaced in a decade or more, black mold that’s been painted over time and again, electrical appliances that either don’t work or “shoot fire” as one upset renter complained. People a reduced to heating their homes with their ovens. Management has seen fit to renovate vacant apartments leaving those already living there in the cold, literally, to deal with respiratory ailments and other problems as a result of the conditions in their homes.
In addition, several of the residents have contracted with management to do various tasks around the complex: cleaning, furniture removal, painting and even construction. Some were, initially, paid cash. All, over time, were given credits toward their rent—some totaling several thousand dollars worth. The current owners have refused to honor these credits, or pay what’s owed and are pushing for evictions on those with the audacity to demand pay for their work.
The people of Sandalwood, individually, have complained but the repairs are slow, often inadequate and management has turned a deaf ear to their pleas for compensation, respect and descent living conditions. It’s time they organize. ActionNC is here to help.