NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News city official confirmed to 10 On Your Side Friday that residents of the Seaview Lofts Apartments will not be able to return until Monday at the earliest.
Earlier this week, in an exclusive report, Newport News Director of Code Compliance Harold Roach told 10 On Your Side he was “not confident” the condemned Seaview Loft apartments would be ready for residents to return anytime soon. He called it “the worst” he’s seen in his career.
New photos and records uncovered by a 10 On Your Side investigation reveal two years’ worth of code violations and failed inspections. It proved a track record of broken promises on the part of landlord Ben Weinstein, said Roach.
“To have the owner just drag his feet and seemingly not take this situation seriously to try and get it fixed as quickly as possible and put us in the predicament to have to require the building vacated and us have to step up and cover the bill for people’s lodging…we haven’t experienced that before,” Roach said.
On June 29, residents were given a two-day notice that they had to get out of the building.
At the heart of the issue are the apartment building’s elevators. Kim Lee, a spokesperson for the city, said the building has two, but one has been inoperable. The functioning elevator was only approved to operate temporarily and failed a safety test on Monday, June 27, leaving the 15-floor building with no approved functioning elevators. The city says the building’s boiler also hasn’t been repaired.
“The unfortunate thing is that the residents, being the average working person, they’re usually the people that get caught in the middle and suffer the most,” Roach said.
The photos also show the in-ground pool filled with trash and several extra washing machines stored outside.
“It’s horrible, it’s absolutely horrible,” Roach said.
Documents obtained by 10 On Your Side show that the building was deemed “unsafe” and “unfit for human occupancy” on March 11, 2022 and April 19, 2022. This was due to the broken elevator and a boiler and exhaust fan in need of repairs.
The owner previously said the elevators would be fixed before Friday, July 29. However, Roach told 10 On Your Side he doesn’t have faith the issues will be fixed by then.
“The fact that the judge has ordered certain things to be done and that they’re still not done doesn’t speak well to the situation,” he said.
City spokesperson Kim Lee said management failed Friday’s inspection. The water heater boiler and the fire alarm system are not up to par. As a result, the condemnation will not be lifted.
There will be another court hearing for the owner and management.