By John Schaffner
Kimanne Allen and Stacey Elgin lost their condominiums at Arborgate in south Buckhead because they could not continue mortgage payments and condo association fees on two homes. They could not live in their Arborgate homes because of extensive damage caused by erosion from a broken water pipe in January 2006.
After three years of battling with the Arborgate condominium owners association and management company to make her home livable, Andrea Nardello gave up the idea of returning to her condo in building B-120 at Arborgate and moved back to New Jersey and in with her parents. She also could not afford two home mortgage payments.
Of the four professional women who owned condo units in B-120 at Arborgate in mid-June 2007, when the Buckhead Reporter first told of their fight and plight with their condo association and management firm, only Karen O’Brien still lives at Arborgate.
O’Brien has lived at Arborgate on Biscayne Drive since 1998, except for the period last year when she and Nardello were forced by the city to vacate their condos because of unsafe structural conditions until mandated repairs were made.
Allen, who bought her unit in January 2006, and Elgin, who bought her unit earlier but rented it out while she lived out of state, were never able to move into their units in 2006 because of erosion problems that caused cracked and separated walls, sagging floors, severely weakened foundations, aging and ruptured water pipes, and the threat of ruptured gas pipes at B-120. When Arborgate was built in the 1960s, the water pipes and gas lines were run under the concrete floor of the condo units.
It took until June 2007 and inspections by the city that resulted in the condo association being slapped with a code violation to get a court mandate to reroute the water and gas lines and to stabilize the foundations of the four B-120units. The four women have had pending lawsuits against the Arborgate condo owners association and management company for more than two years. They are seeking reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, engineering reports, leveling of the floors, rental of a secondary living space during repair work, rental of storage units and lawyer fees.
Depositions are completed, but no hearing date has been set, Nardello said.
Nardello, who moved to New Jersey in January, said the foundation of the building essentially has been fixed, “but only to the extent it is stabilized. There still was a 3-inch slant to the ground-level floor, and the top level of the condo also slants.”
She said the condo association and management company refused to pay to level the floors. It cost her $3,000 to have a company level the ground floor using a leveling compound, then put the flooring back in place.
Asked how she deals with furniture on the second story, where the floors still slant, Nardello said: “You have to get very creative.”
During the time the foundation work and other repairs were being done to their units and they had to vacate their condos, the women had to rent storage units for their furniture and other belongings. Sometime after she moved to New Jersey, the association sent a notice to her Atlanta condo, telling her to have the portable storage unit removed in three to four weeks or she would be fined and face a possible lien on her condo.
Nardello told the Buckhead Reporter she never intends to move back into her condo in B-120. But she cannot even put it up for sale until the lawsuit is settled, and she has no idea when that will be.
Meanwhile, O’Brien continues to live at Arborgate, and Allen and Elgin have given up and moved on with their lives. But all are hoping to get some compensation for not being able to enjoy their homes for more than two years.