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Almost 150 families who were forced to evacuate from their east Columbus apartments due to unsafe living conditions over a year ago will soon receive settlement payments. Starting April 1st, 149 households from the Latitude Five25 apartments will receive a lump-sum payment of $10,067 each. Despite the settlement, former tenants retain the option to pursue legal action against the owners of the complex, New Jersey-based Paxe Latitude.

The evacuation of the apartments occurred on Christmas Day 2022, prompted by burst water pipes and a lack of heating. Prior to this incident, the property had been under scrutiny by the city for various issues, including bug infestations and unsanitary conditions. In February of the following year, a judge ordered Paxe Latitude to pay nearly $4.4 million in fines and utility fees, including $2.5 million for compensating the former tenants. The court also found negligence in the handling of asbestos by contractors hired by the owners.

Compensation Secured for Former Latitude Five25 Tenants

Despite the court order, the owners failed to pay the contempt fee. However, this January, the lender financing the owners entered into a $1.5 million settlement with the city in lieu of the $2.5 million payment.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein expressed determination to pursue accountability for the crisis caused by the landlords. He stated, “With tenant checks now on their way, we’re focused on the future of the towers and exploring every option to hold those responsible for this crisis personally responsible for their role.”

Former tenants shared their experiences, expressing the challenges faced during the evacuation and displacement. Latitude Five25 resident Ann Barrett recalled the Christmas morning evacuation and the impact it had on her and others. Keith Ackerman, another former tenant, described the difficulties of the prolonged displacement and the uncertainty surrounding the current state of the building.

The future of the complex remains uncertain, with the property listed for sale last week. The sale process requires court approval, and prospective buyers are expected to have experience in property rehabilitation.



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Settlement Reached for Evacuated Tenants of Latitude Five25  was originally published on