Federal lawsuit filed over Church Street South housing complex

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A federal lawsuit has been filed against Northland Investment Corporation over claims of “demolition by neglect” at the Church Street South housing complex in New Haven.

The lawsuit claims the company did not properly maintain the building, forcing families to move to motels last year.

Related Content: Demolition begins on Church Street South complex

Units in the Section 8 complex were condemned because of mold and water and had to be demolished.

Other apartments in the complex have been boarded up due to mold. Personna Noble lived in one of those Church Street South apartments that is now boarded up.

“I had mold in my bathroom and my downstairs closet and I had water damage in my walls in my living room,” said Noble. “I was told I had to move out because both my sons had asthma.”

Noble joined many families who had to move out because of water damage and mold that crept across and behind walls, unanswered calls for maintenance and conditions that made them sick.

“I took them to the doctor and they said we shouldn’t be living there, if we had mold in the bathroom and they have asthma,” said Noble.

Noble is one of six people who have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the property owner, Northland Investment Corporation. News 8 called Northland Investment for a response, but we were told they do not comment on pending litigation.

“These individuals are bringing this case on behalf of everyone, on behalf of their neighbors as well as themselves,” said the Church Street South residents’ attorney, David Rosen.

Some of the allegations are that HUD found over a 1,000 health and safety problems with the complex back in 2015 and that Northland let these apartments slide for other plans.

“The investment company has always wanted to do something more profitable, that is to say, something where they can charge rents that are a lot higher,” said Rosen.

Residents say Northland moved families into one bedroom hotel rooms with no kitchen for months.

It was enough to make some residents stay at the apartment complex just to avoid the inconvenience. One man spoke to News 8 who did not want his name used.

“If you let them know you got all this mold, they just close it down and send you to the hotel,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to do that.”

David Rosen says the class action lawsuit is meant to recover things like medical costs and belongings.

Noble says after moving to 3 different hotels, she and her two sons have settled into a town house.

“I’m glad I’m out of here,” said Noble. “I don’t want to come back.  Even when they rebuild it, I don’t want to come back.”

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