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Waverly neighbors frustrated over paying full rent for 'unlivable' homes

Repairs continue to drag on with no end in sight
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Posted at 7:46 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 10:02:45-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Neighbors of the Briarwood Apartments say they’re stuck paying full rent even though homes are far from repaired.

Much of what has washed away, you can’t hope to recover. Dawn Schwarz was just thankful to see her home in place. At least, what’s left of it.

After water flooded the bottom floor of most of the Briarwood Apartment homes, Dawn was told by Greer Management that repairs would begin immediately. The Alabama-based company manages several properties between multiple states.

Schwarz has been here almost every day for more than two weeks and says she rarely sees crews working. They’ve removed the carpet and part of the sheetrock, but everything else is moving far slower than Schwarz expected. She would do the work herself, but neighbors were told that no one was to make repairs other than those hired by Greer Management.

Schwarz got just enough from the Red Cross which she used to pay for her family’s hotel room through Friday. She paid her rent on the third but figured at least the walls would be fixed by then.

“I mean you can see all the nails and screws that are still sticking out,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz has three kids and two with autism. It’s far from ideal or even safe for her kids to be anywhere near these hazards. She says one child has been known to wander, and she can’t imagine what would happen if he slipped through the sheetrock into another apartment.

“We’re just plain people who want our apartment back. We want some normalcy for our children. We work 5, 6, 7 days a week trying to provide for our kids and to pay for a place to live, but yet we don’t get a chance to,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz is reluctant to move in with family who likely has their handful of issues to sort out. So it’s between squeezing into a room in the apartment or spending nights in their car.

“I’m halfway homeless. I technically have a home, but I can’t live in it,” Schwarz said.

We noticed other families move out of the apartments, but many say they just can’t afford to. We found Patsy Wells just outside her door. She was reluctant at first because she feared speaking up would agitate the property owners and lead to her eviction.

She later told us how challenging it’s been to not have a kitchen or much of a first floor at all. She paid her rent, but she and her daughter spend most of their time in their rooms.

“I’m not going to move. I’m going to stay here. It’s the only place I can stay because I have nowhere else to go,” Wells said.

Paying rent isn’t the problem for Wells or Schwarz for that matter. It’s the cost involved with having to uproot your lives and then find another affordable home for their families.

While we toured these homes, three repairmen arrived. Schwarz was convinced it had something to do with our presence.

They placed a tarp over the exposed holes between apartments. They told us how this is as much as they were allowed to do before a state inspection. He said it could be days, maybe weeks, or even months. The replacement drywall alone could take up to three weeks to arrive.

Several calls and multiple voicemails to Greer Management went unanswered, so there’s no telling when we can expect repairs. Schwarz will pay rent to avoid eviction and losing all that’s left.

“We just want our place back. We just want our life back,” Schwarz said.

We also reached out to the landlord who would only say this is between the renters and the property management company. This is a developing story. We’ll share details on-air and online as we learn more.