Serenity Towers feeling the heat, issued more fines for building violations

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 7:00 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On one of the hottest days of the year, The City of Memphis’ latest code enforcement report show over 80 elderly residents’ apartments are without A/C.

Henry Smith is one of them.

He says he is frustrated about his living conditions and without A/C he is using fans to keep cool.

“Nobody got no business paying rent living like this. I don’t want to. I’m trying to get out here myself, cause I’m tired and it doesn’t make any sense,” said Smith.

Smith is upset and confused as to why the court is giving the Midtown housing complex more time to fix recurring issues.

“If they didn’t do it since 2011, when you gonna make them do it, 2031?” questioned Smith.

He says he wants to see improvements at a significantly faster rate, and in Shelby County Environmental Court Tuesday morning, Judge Patrick Dandridge agreed.

He issued Serenity Towers a $5,000 fine Tuesday after seeing Code Enforcement’s most recent report that shows more than 90 residents are without hot water and more than 85 are still without air.

That’s 60 more units than the 23 the attorney for Serenity Towers reported last week.

“There are more units that have issues than we knew, we believed, we had,” said Serenity Towers Attorney Ben Sissman.

Dandridge is suggesting Serenity Towers find temporary housing for residents until the building is brought to compliance but Sissman says there are no openings at other HUD properties.

“They all have a waiting list, they all have rules and we can’t take someone from Serenity Towers and move them if there are any empty units,” said Sissman.

Since other HUD housing is not available, another suggestion the court heard was possibly moving residents to other vacant units available inside Serenity Towers.

The next compliance hearing is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

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