University Village residents: living conditions are a concern
Cracks, crumbling concrete and breaking balconies are sights that University Village residents say they've been living with for months; sights they say were not addressed until a deadly balcony collapse over the weekend.
One family moved out of the complex Tuesday, despite not knowing if they could break their lease because they said they feared for their safety.
Even though inspectors deemed the remaining buildings "structurally sound" on Sunday, another balcony was torn down Tuesday afternoon.
Residents said cracks in the structures are nothing new.
Kenneth Kircher moved to the complex in August and said he noticed a few cracks in the ceiling. He said he reported it to the University maintenance right after he moved in. Six months later, it hasn't been fixed and Kircher said it has gotten even worse.
"It started out in August, and when I reported it, it was just a system of cracks, two or three, but fairly long and deep in the bathroom ceiling," Kircher said. "Now there is a bulge and a noticeable hole in said ceiling."
Kircher said the University told him they would take care of it, but as of Tuesday night, he was still waiting.
"I really don't anticipate anything until summer, so here's to hoping it holds," he said.
Kircher said if he had the option to go somewhere else, he probably would. But for now, he said he has to stay put.
"It's convenient, it's cost...this is the best rate I was able to get anywhere in Columbia," he said.
Other residents also said the combination of money and convenience is what is keeping them at the complex. They also said they reached out to the University in the last few days with their concerns, but that they haven't heard back.
ABC 17 News tried calling the University Tuesday to get some answers, but multiple calls were not returned.
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