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Renovations causing tenants setbacks

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 4/5/22

Residents at Canterbrook Village, formerly Bedford Manor, say they are experiencing multiple challenges during the property’s renovations.  

Ashley Bachelder and Cara Grimes of the …

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Renovations causing tenants setbacks


Residents at Canterbrook Village, formerly Bedford Manor, say they are experiencing multiple challenges during the property’s renovations.  

Ashley Bachelder and Cara Grimes of the Bedford County Listening Project, a renter’s advocacy group, have spoken to many of these residents.  

They wrote a letter Tuesday to Elmington Property Management, the new managers of Canterbrook Village, addressing many of the concerns.  

“A crisis began, March 18th, 2022, at 6 a.m. when several residents staying at the Microtel learned they would be displaced to the Holiday Inn at Tullahoma,” the letter reads.  

The Times-Gazette spoke to some of these residents being affected by the renovations.  

Kim Kleywegt has been living in what is widely known as Bedford Manor for nine years. She received a notice a month ago saying she would need to vacate her residence and move into the Tullahoma hotel while her apartment would be under renovation.  

However, Kleywegt said she had heart surgery this month as well as contracted COVID-19. Still recovering and on an oxygen tank, she said she received less than a week’s notice that she would need to be out of her property. 

 “I don’t know what they want me to do,” she said. All her possessions had to be boxed and ready to move. Though unemployed, she purchased the totes and boxes herself.  

And once she arrives in Tullahoma, she said she’ll have to rely on her “unreliable” car for transportation as well as pay for the extra gas mileage. 

 Despite all this, she considers herself “blessed” as she relied on many friends to help.  

All the more frustrating, Kleywegt said they were supposed to be done with these renovations last January. The constantly changing timelines of the project have left many residents confused, Listening Project organizer Bachelder said.  

They say it’s poor communication between the management company and the tenants. The letter reads, “Finally, many residents need greater communication about the relocation process each step along the way....”  

Many residents have suffered through bouts of no heat and no water, which is a Shelbyville City codes violation, according to Bachelder.  

Shelbyville Building and Codes Director Bryan Stevens said as far as he knows, water at Canterbrook Village has not been shut off for more than 12 hours at a time.  

“But we have no control over how long the contractors shut the water off,” Stevens said.  

He also said that many leaks have been discovered during the renovation process. These leaks must have not been reported by the previous property owners, he said.  

It’s possible much of the mold growth many tenants have in their apartments may have been caused by these leaks.  

They turned off Kleywedt’s water for four hours, but her neighbor Danielle wasn’t so lucky. She had to stop by Kleywedt’s residents to collect a gallon of water so she could flush her toilet.  

They’re hoping the renovations bring the apartments up to date. Kleywedt added wryly, “It can’t be any worse.”  

With no maintenance worker on site, many residents have to wait days before anything is fixed, like a hole in Kleywedt’s ceiling that leaks when it rains and gets into her cabinets.  

She has no dishwasher, and the only improvement she’s gotten these past nine years is a new fridge.  

Other residents, who have gone through the renovations, are experiencing a resurgence of cockroaches and rats. 

 Tenant Mariah Lanier said she’s experienced cockroach infestations before but never rats― that is, until she moved back in after renovations.  

She’s a mother of three who recently attended the Paul Mitchell School.  

She said late last summer, the new management conducted a Zoom call with the residents explaining the renovation process. But Lanier said they just “told us what we wanted to hear.”  

Moving back into her residence, Lanier has experienced electrical problems, door locks not working, and plumbing issues that caused mold as well as water from her shower to smell like sewage.  

“I had to purchase one of those shower head filters because it smelled so bad. I couldn’t bath in it,” Lanier said.  

She said her neighbor experienced sewage seeping up in her sink, so she couldn’t wash dishes for weeks. 

The worst of it, too, is she said that while renovations were going on, her valuable possessions— such as her laptop and gaming systems―were stolen while locked away in storage. She said she never received a key to access her possessions.  

The management company said any stolen property could be filed in May when renovations are through.  

Despite the poor conditions, Lanier said she is humbled and glad she even have a roof over her head.  

Another single mother, Lauren Sellars, is hoping to move back into her apartment after having lived in the Microtel for a month with her four young daughters.  

That month long stay was only supposed to be two weeks, according to Sellars. She said they were renovating her apartment to become ADA compliant, which she said they did not inform her about.  

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn’t easy,” Sellars said.  

She says she doesn’t have a working car. It’s currently getting repairs, which she knows she won’t be able to afford.  

Working with the Listening Project, the tenants have asked management on multiple occasions to provide a taxi service for those who can’t drive from the hotel back to their apartment.  

Bachelder along with Grimes and Sellars approached the management secretary the afternoon of March 24 at Canterbrook. She promised that rides and transportation were being worked out for the tenants as well as said the amount on the check stipends to residents would be increased.  

However, as of Friday, Sellars said tenants temporarily staying at a Microtel in Shelbyville were informed at 9 that morning by staff that they needed to check out by 1 p.m. However, no transportation from the management had been provided.  

According to Bachelder, tenants had to figure out their own transportation despite being told by the office that it would be provided.  

Sellars said she was supposed to move back into her residency the weekend of March 26. But it failed codes inspection even though it was supposed to be newly renovated.  

“I feel like this whole process has been so unorganized and rushed. Like, why wasn’t transportation put together better?” Sellars said.  

“We’re not asking for a lot. We just want better communication,” she said.