A dozen East Point families will have to move from their homes immediately beginning on Friday afternoon. Earlier this week, residents were notified by the City of East Point that their homes were “unfit for human habitation,” and that further use or occupancy of the premises would be illegal.

On Wednesday, residents of the Washington Arms apartments on Washington Road were given 48 hours to vacate the premises. The residents were ordered to leave before the power and water were shut off.

With this year’s chilly winter weather, residents complained that the apartments did not have heat. They also went through periods where the water was cut off or the hot water didn’t work. Many of the residents living in these apartments have young children.

These conditions caused many residents to look for alternative ways to keep their families warm.

“The heat’s been out since we’ve been here,” Gabriella Gonzales, a three-year resident who said she used electric space heaters to keep her family warm, told AJC.

The abrupt notice for residents to relocate from the apartments came as the property changed hands in order to maintain its certificate of occupancy. In order to do so, the property had to undergo a city inspection.

An Atlanta-based management company, Meridian Management Group, acquired the apartment complex early last month through receivership, which is the process of appointment by a court of a receiver to take custody of a property until a final decision is made on the disbursement of a lawsuit.

The management group plans to transfer at least eight families to another apartment property in southeast Atlanta. Meridian will also reimburse ten other families their rent Friday morning and they will move to other apartments or homes.

Meridian regional manager Caleb Barber said that he will continue to negotiate more time for those families who aren’t able to move right away.

“We just can’t do it within the strict timeline that they gave us,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to pack up and move everything in 48 hours.”

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