Lanett resident says collapsed ceiling not being fixed fast enough

Published 10:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

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Last week, Spring Fraser said she heard a crash in her bedroom and opened the door to find that the ceiling had fallen through.

Fraser, a resident of the Crystal Springs Apartments in Lanett, discovered insulation and rubble covering her bedroom floor and her clothes on Friday, Jan. 26. She said she immediately called the apartment manager and reported that the ceiling had caved. 

According to Fraser, someone from maintenance came out to clean up the insulation that same day. However, the hole in the ceiling still stayed uncovered and exposed over the weekend and throughout the past week.

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On Monday, maintenance operators came by the apartment while Fraser was at work to pick up the initial debris. But Fraser said more of the ceiling had fallen out since then, burying her clothes in insulation and rubble again. 

Fraser said Friday that management has not returned since Monday, Jan. 29. When she called management, she said she was told to sleep in the living room until they could repair the hole. Fraser said she also notified management that the hallway and bathroom ceilings show signs of bulging.

She asked if they could set her up in a motel room until the repairs had been completed. Fraser said that the apartment manager told her the apartment is still considered liveable as long as there is running water, gas and electricity.

“She told me that there was a stipulation to putting me in a hotel would be that since I still got power on one wall, gas and water, that wasn’t unlivable,” Fraser said.

The VTN reached out to the Lanett Housing Authority, which oversees Crystal Springs Apartments. The manager declined to do an interview and said that the issue was being addressed.

Lanett Housing Authority Board Chairman Rose Wood said she spoke to Fraser and that a professional would be coming on Monday to fix the ceiling. She said the first contractor did not come through so the repair work was delayed. Fraser said management told her that repairs wouldn’t be completed until Thursday, Feb. 8. 

“We don’t want anybody living in a house with the ceiling falling in,” Wood said. 

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to meet housing quality standards, dwelling units must be structurally sound:

“Ceilings, walls, and floors must not have any serious defects such as severe bulging or leaning, large holes, loose surface materials, severe buckling, missing parts, or other serious damage.”

A maintenance guidebook from the HUD website said that emergency and urgent repairs (life-threatening or extreme damage to property, major inconvenience to residents) require immediate or same-day service response times.