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Tenants asked to find new apartments in a matter of days with evacuation notice

A Columbia apartment complex is asking residents to pack their bags and find a new place to live.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Residents of Spring Lake Apartments say they were shocked by a notice on their door early Friday morning.

The notice informs residents that their building is set to be demolished on Monday, August 22.

Residents who answered the knock on the door, say they were spoken to by the current property manager who told them that they would have 10 days to evacuate their property.

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One woman who lives in the complex says she will not be able to find a place to live in 10 days.

"I was mad... because I have my grandchildren here. If we have to move, where are we supposed to go? We don't have someplace else to go," she said.

According to the Richland County Fire Department, the property owners cannot actually do any demolition without an emergency evacuation inspection first. Assistant Fire Marshall Bengie Leverett could not confirm that one of these inspections ever happened.

"The property has not been deemed unsafe by code enforcement or by us at the fire department. We have not given an emergency evacuation order," Leverett said.

We also spoke with Christopher Kenney who works for Harpootlian Law Firm, he says the property owners cannot ask people to leave in such a short amount of time.

"If their leases say they would normally have 30 days to leave for any kind of issue, this notice is highly unusual. I would definitely advise any residents who received this notice on their door to seek legal council and talk to a lawyer," Kenney explained.

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The current property manager of Spring Lake Apartments, Dwan Brown gave a statement explaining that property owners will be doing renovations in the complex and clearing the spaces out section by section.

Brown says she has been in contact with other property managers in the area and that neighboring complexes have been notified that residents of Spring Lake will be seeking housing. According to Brown, residents that are being asked to leave have also been offered money to pay their administrative fee, application fee, deposits and first month's rent for their next apartment.

We will continue following this story to see if people are evacuated.

Several of the buildings rented out to tenants got the red notice on their door, and each building holds 12 units. The Richland County Fire Department says they will be investigating this situation and will continue to provide updates.


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