Mold, leaks and broken windows.
Those are just some of the health and safety violations discovered in the neglected Church Street South apartment complex across from New Haven’s Union Station.
An attorney for Church Street South families filed a class-action lawsuit in New Haven Federal Court Thursday morning.
“Even if they rebuilt it, I wouldn’t want to come back,” former resident Personna Noble told NBC Connecticut, looking up at her now boarded up apartment.
Noble is among the many residents seeking damages from the property’s owner, Northland Investment Corp., a real estate company based in Newton, Massachusetts.
“I had mold in my bathroom, and my downstairs closet and I had water damage on my wall and my living room,” Noble said of her old apartment.
Both of her sons have asthma.
“I took them to the doctors and they said we shouldn’t be living in there,” Noble said.
Noble’s apartment is one of the many units at Church Street South deemed uninhabitable by officials.
“Apartments that should be decent, safe and sanitary have been allowed to deteriorate by the landlord,” Attorney David Rosen said. “What we’re seeking for them is money damages for what they’ve lost, everything from illness, to homelessness.”
Before finding a home in New Haven’s tight housing market, Noble and her boys had to stay in three hotels.
“Our clients have for the most part been evacuated like refugees,” Rosen said.
Not having a kitchen while in hotels was difficult for Noble, who works in the food industry.
“Everywhere else was like one microwave, one refrigerator, I couldn’t even go food shopping the way I wanted to go food shopping for my kids. It was a mess,” she said.
Now settled in her new home, Noble said she is pleased residents are taking action in court against the property manager.
“Glad that I’m out of here,” she said. “I’m really glad.”
It will be up to the court to decide how much the Church Street South families should be compensated, Rosen said.
A spokesperson for Northland said in an email the company “does not comment on pending litigation.”