Ice Dams Lead to Waterlogged Apartments

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KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Michael Lavigne welcomed FOX 17 into his home at Royal Glen Apartments, where a leaky roof caused damaged inside the unit.

He said he noticed wet spots on his floor on January 30th. He said he just thought something had spilled, so he wiped it up.

“It was the next night after work that I realized, wow, we have a major problem here,” Lavigne explained.

Ice dams on his roof sent water pouring into his apartment. The leaking roof has left visible damage to the ceiling, walls, and carpet in more than one room.

“These spots have been getting progressively worse over the month and last week I came home from work and water was pouring out of this light fixture,” he pointed out in a bedroom.

Lavigne said water also poured through the window. Although he said it took a while, maintenance broke up ice on his roof, and the complex hired contractors to check the damage in his unit. They pulled back carpet. However, the visible signs and wet walls remain. He said he`s turned everywhere for help, including the property manager.

“[The property manager] on no less than 4 occasions has literally told me to my face, ‘I just don`t know what to do,’” he recalled.

“I`ve gone to the office and all I get is a runaround,” Mureal Odle, another affected resident said.

Odle, a longtime Royal Glen resident, said she’s in the same boat.

“Contractors came last week and said there`s still water in the walls. But I have not heard back from them stating when and if they`re going to come and do something,” she said.

Odle said she and a family member went to the property manager on separate occasions.

“She told me I should move my bed and put a bucket there to catch the water. I live in one bedroom apartment, there`s no place to move my bed,” she explained.

“And I`m still having to live in this with no answers,” Odle said.

So FOX 17 tried to get some answers for them.

No one at the office on-site would talk. FOX 17 heard back from the regional manager with Westwind Management. He said the company started to address the problem immediately by knocking down ice from the buildings in mid-January as complaints came in.

“One of the things that is most frustrating is that this whole situation is totally preventable,” Lavigne said.

But management said the constant snow and cold temperatures got ahead of them. Contractors are going through each apartment to assess the damage. The regional manager said carpet and padding will be replaced if an affected apartment needs it.

FOX 17 wanted to know if management is concerned about mold developing, like Lavigne and Odle. The regional manager said contractors are looking at that potentiality.

“If somehow I could get money to move somewhere [sic] else, I would,” Odle said.

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  • Melissa

    I am having the same problem. Since January 13th the carpet has been pilled back and the padding ripped out in both my bedrooms. For a while all of our furniture has been in the dining room. Nothing has been done about it. we call up to twice a week. we finaly called a lawyer who told us to start putting our rent in an escrow account and to ask for a rent abatement. That also has done nothing to help our case. Management said we will probably get an eviction, But we were told we'd win in court because the money is there. I've tried contacting the news for help before but got nowhere. We've been told there are 13 apartments here like this.Something needs to be done. I am paying for a two bedroom apartment and living like this is a studio.

  • James Wright

    Homeowners can prevent ice dams by having their attic insulation and ventilation checked. Heat from the living space rises in a poorly insulated and ventilated attic space. Heat rises to the peak of the roof where it warms up outside on your roof.

    The snow melts and runs under the snow, freezing down at the rain gutters building up an ice dam. The water also can run under the roofing tiles and enter your home, causing further damage. In addition to improving your insulation and ventilation, you should also purchase an extendable roof rake which allows you to remove snow off the roof without having to climb a ladder.

    The last thing you can do is have a rain gutter heating element installed which will prevent the water runoff from re freezing. Stay safe. If you have an ice dam, call an experienced, licensed and insured roofing contractor to take care of it.

    James Wright
    Home Improvement Manager

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