Judge allows Flint to shut off power, board up Richfield Court Apartments

The city is working with remaining residents to find suitable housing elsewhere
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 7:09 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A judge is allowing the city of Flint to go a step further in closing and emptying the condemned Richfield Court Apartments complex.

The judge granted the city permission to board up and cut off power to the remaining buildings in the complex during a hearing on Wednesday.

Flint condemned the entire complex in February after ABC12 News followed dismal conditions there and at Sunset Village Apartments, which are owned by the same Florida-based group.

The condemnation orders forced residents to leave within 10 days. City officials partnered with the United Way, Catholic Charities and other nonprofit organizations to relocate all of the residents to suitable housing, but some were still living at Richfield Court.

The city attorney argued that Richfield Court is a dangerous and unsafe place for anyone to live and the court agreed, granting the city an injunction to shut it down.

“There’s nothing decent at all of Richfield court,” the attorney argued.

The Flint Building and Safety Inspections Division condemned two buildings in the Richfield Court complex and ordered four others demolished in December. The living conditions in the rest of the complex deteriorated in February when a water pipe broke, sending water flowing in hallways and coating the exterior in ice.

Last week, a fire broke out at one of the buildings and displaced seven people still living at the complex.

Genesee County Judge Celeste Bell was concerned about exposed electrical wires in Richfield Court Apartments buildings, which pose a significant hazard to anyone who goes inside.

“I don’t think that you’ve asked for anything that is outrageous or unnecessary,” Bell said. “I will sign this order as is. It will be effective as soon as I sign it.”

The injunction issued Wednesday takes effect immediately. Flint will be working with the United Way and other nonprofit organizations to find suitable housing for about a dozen people still living at Richfield Court.

It’s not clear when city officials will cut off power and board up the complex.

The owners of Richfield Court and Sunset Village apartments owe over $1.2 million in past due water bills for both complexes and last made a payment in December 2017 -- more than three years ago.

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