Low-income residents of former Vernon resort hotel face eviction as legal battle ensues
The residents of a low-income housing apartment complex in the former Legends resort hotel in Vernon are facing eviction due to safety concerns.
Residents tell News 12 New Jersey that finding alternative housing has been nearly impossible.
"We have no place to go. Winter is here pretty much," says former tenant Christine Kymer. "There's a lot of people that are lower income than we are, and they're here."
Vernon officials say that since the resort fell apart several years ago, unit owners violated zoning laws and turned it into long-term housing. They say that as a result, safety and fire hazards are blatant.
The Vernon mayor says in a statement, "The Township is merely enforcing these codes to protect its residents by relocating them. It is time for the owners to correct any outstanding safety violations and provide relocation assistance so its residents can find safe, permanent residents."
The mayor says that it is up to the people who own the units they rent to the tenants to find them housing or give them $10,000 to cover for six months.
But Kymer says that they haven't been able to get in contact with their landlord. The units are also owned by multiple owners.
The owners and the township are fighting the enforcement code violations in court. Tenants in five of the roughly 30 units have been told they need to leave immediately.
"It's very hard. Especially with the landlords wanting money, even when we're supposed to be out, Kymer says. "Most of the people here they actually work for Crystal Springs and they still take money out of their checks."
Condo owners who do not follow the ordinance could face fines of up to $8,000 a day and prison time.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to several of the property owners for comment but has yet to hear back.