Uptown tenants caught in ownership fight over building

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 8:00 PM

Thanh Truong/ Eyewitness News
Email: ttruong@wwltv.com | Twitter: @thanh412

NEW ORLEANS -- A group of tenants were given only 24-hours to move out of their apartments in Uptown New Orleans on Celeste Street, just off Tchoupitoulas.

“We love it here," said Aimee Berthiaume. She has lived here for two years and gave little thought about moving until Thursday, when she and other tenants got a notice.

Berthiaume said, the tenants were told "that we have to have everything out by today, Sept. 20, by 5 p.m. or they're going to change locks and they will keep our stuff that is left.”

One of those locks were already changed by Friday. 

Fellow tenants said they've paid their rent, and there's no way they could pack up and leave in just one day.

"I know as human being you cannot be thrown out of your apartment where you did not do anything wrong," said Denise Bayarktar, a tenant

The building's ownership is being disputed.  Attorneys for one of the parties, Steve Anderson, say the building is unsafe and that the fire marshal is likely to shut it down.  That's why Anderson issued the 24-hour vacate notice.  Several fire officials were at the building Friday. 

Anderson's attorney issued a statement saying in part: "Once the building meets code and is again habitable, we welcome any occupants back". 

But an attorney for the other party in this building dispute, Robert Armbruster, filed a temporary restraining order Friday.  It seeks to block any eviction, saying the tenants’ leases are valid and a court order is needed for an eviction. 

In the middle of it all are the tenants.

Denise Bayarktar said she has no options.

The State Fire Marshal told Eyewitness News the building is unsafe and that his office is processing a cease and desist order, meaning the building will have to be vacated.
 

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