Apartments in poor condition also cited for missing fire extinguishers, records show

CHARLOTTE — A day after 9 Investigates reported deplorable living conditions inside a unit at a northwest Charlotte apartment complex, we’re uncovering serious safety concerns there.

Several fire extinguishers are missing from the Scarlet Pointe Apartments, and Channel 9′s Almiya White discovered the fire department even cited the complex over the spring for this exact reason.

One resident told White given the number of fires that have broken out there, this is a major concern.

“If you’re already suffering from depression, this place just magnifies it,” Keenyn Garrigan told White. “This is the textbook definition of oppression.”

He said living there was his only affordable option.

“There’s nowhere else to go,” he said. “These were the last affordable apartments in town and it’s not there anymore.”

He’s been a resident since 2014 and contacted White about the dire conditions. One of his concerns was the missing fire extinguishers.

“Given the number of fires that we’ve had and complete apartments that are burned up, the fact that they’re not even trying to keep us in fire extinguishers, is troubling,” Garrigan said.

Channel 9 reported on a fire there a year ago, in December 2021. Investigators said it was caused by unattended cooking. Garrigan said he was right next door when it happened.

“Fire department knocked on the door and said ‘everybody get out.’ We got up and the flames next door was out in the sidewalk,” he said. “At the time there was no fire extinguisher, so the guy had no means of putting it out.”

The last fire inspection at the Scarlet Pointe Apartments was in April. The report notes, “several locations with missing fire extinguishers need replaced.” The complex was cited for that, and for “fire hydrant not in compliance.”

On Friday, White counted at least seven missing fire extinguishers.

“Disappointment but not surprised,” Garrigan said. “Think that if they have that little regard for us, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of everything else that’s going on around here.”

On Thursday, White tried contacting the management company twice. On Friday, she reached out two more times. They said they are still investigating her questions, so she’ll follow up with them on Monday.

Both residents White spoke with at the complex have filed complaints with code enforcement.

If you’re dealing with a similar situation in Mecklenburg County, here’s how that process works.

  • Tenant contacts 311 to submit a complaint -- Code Enforcement has three business days to contact the tenant
  • Inspector schedules inspection
  • Inspection is completed and violations are identified
  • Owner and tenant are mailed a Complaint & Notice of Hearing (C&N) -- this contains a hearing date within the next 30 days and the alleged violations
  • Hearing is held -- this is not mandatory and there is no penalty for not attending. This gives the owner an opportunity to ask questions and provide any evidence for corrected violations.
  • Finding of Fact and Order to Repair or Demolish (FOF) -- this is mailed to the owner and tenant and gives the owner a compliance date to correct all of the violations. This is typically 30 days after the hearing date. A repair order is issued if the repairs are less than 65% of the structure value and a demolition order is issued if repairs exceed 65% of the structure value.

At the expiration of the compliance date, if all of the violations have not been corrected, Code Enforcement can issue an extension if progress on the repairs has been made or issue civil penalties if no repairs have been completed.

Code always encourages tenants to try to work with their landlords for repairs. If efforts are unsuccessful they should contact 311 and report their complaint so Code can conduct an inspection of the property and ensure violations of the city’s Housing Code are abated.

(WATCH BELOW: UNC Charlotte student scared to live at off-campus apartments due to crime)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV