NEWARK - More than three dozen families will be allowed to stay in their Newark apartment complex after the owner agreed to remedy several code violations.
Newark officials say problems with the building's fire escapes have created unsafe conditions for 46 families living at the Aspen Stratford apartments.
Tenants told News 12 New Jersey that apartment management learned about the violations last Friday when owners were served with an injunction from the city. They claim that they weren't told about the issue until Tuesday morning.
Residents say they are living with rats, mold, as well as problems with the fire escape and alarms.
Owners say the work will take an estimated three weeks to bring the building back to code. At first, the families were told they'd have to go to temporary housing at the YMCA or a school. Now, the owners have agreed to pay for the fire department to keep watch 24 hours a day until the work is completed.
Housing officials say it's time to hold the owners accountable for their properties. "We will make them responsible for the maintenance and upkeeping not just of this facility, but all of the facilities on this block," says Neighborhood Services Director Patrick Council.
Once the work on the fire escapes and alarms is finished, the city will go through each apartment to determine which ones need to be completely gutted. Officials say they will deal with temporary housing on a case-by-case basis.