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Hundreds of tenants told to vacate luxury apartments in Osceola County

Tenants can continue living in building for next 30 days at their own risk

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Residents at Sola at Celebration received an email Monday notifying them they have 30 days to vacate the property.

Southstar Management told News 6 the problems were caused by the previous developer, Hines, after they bought the property in Fall of 2016.

The owner of the complex said it notified the Osceola County Building Department, who posted the signs after an inspection on Monday.

An engineering report provided to News 6 by Osceola County officials detailed some of the issues with the living spaces including cracked concrete and sloping floors. Inspectors also said they saw water damage on the roof in multiple locations.

The inspection company said it noticed cracks in ceilings near outdoor balconies, and tenants complained about the cement not being level.

“At this time, our building staff has marked the structure unsafe, and provided residents a 30 day window to gather their belongings and find other accommodations,” Osceola public information officer Andrew Sullivan said. “Staff will work with the owner(s) to ensure that the structures are habitable and up to code.”

Southstar released a statement to News 6 saying, in part, "We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience this is causing our residents, but their safety is our No. 1 concern."

An official from the company said on Tuesday that all residents will need to be out of their apartments by Sept. 14. It's not known how long the repairs will take or when the residents will be permitted to return to their units.

[Read: Engineering report by Osceola County outlines problems at Sola]

Alex Pardee has lived at the complex for almost two years. He said when he first moved in, he noticed problems with his concrete corner balcony.

"Nobody likes to live in a building that says it's condemned," Pardee said. "These are things that are attached by duct tape and zip ties, which is not very comforting. So these are the poles that they said they were putting up because there is no imminent danger, but wanted us to feel safe."

The company said it plans to reimburse tenants for August rent, deposits and moving expenses. A website to help renters with questions has been created at HelpSola.com.

"Hey, you have 30 days to get out, but don't be alarmed -- there's no imminent danger. Hey, your building is condemned. Now you got to get out," Pardee said.

Sola at Celebration has about 200 residents in 306 units.


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