Ceiling collapse at Memphis apartment causes headaches for tenant

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local resident was abruptly awakened out of her sleep to a disturbing sight.

Her ceiling was on the floor.

Deborah Jones told FOX13 that she thought a storm whipped through her home on Aug. 23 but it was a ceiling collapse.

“It was like a hurricane,” said Deborah Jones, a tenant at Edge at Lake View Apartments. “Something like a thunderstorm or something was bang, bang, bang, bang!”

The ceiling has since been fixed, but Jones said that she’s still faced with other issues within her unit. She said she doesn’t have heat or hot water. She also told FOX13 that she pays $766/month in rent and alleges her renew rate would skyrocket to $1,500 a month starting in January.

FOX13 paid a visit to the property management, who asked us to leave their office. “Ma’am, you need to leave the office. We’re going to have to ask you guys to leave.”

Elite Management Regional Vice President Dell Horne explained that they manage 326 units at the complex and said repairs take time.

“We just bought this property a year ago. Do you see all of the things we’re doing right now? It takes time,” Horne said.

Amid the conversation, another tenant exited the office yelling, “No heat, no bread!”

In an explosive exchange with management, Lakara Heidelberg said that she’s only lived in the complex for six months and told FOX13 that she pays $1,200 per month. Heidelberg provided a video of what appeared to be an attempted break-in at her apartment and added that, like Jones, her apartment also had no heat.

When Horne offered Heidelberg to send work crews to her apartment, she responded in frustration: “No. They can’t come into my apartment.

Heidelberg said that maintenance visited her home in the past with the expectation of remedying the issues but she claimed the issues still lingered.

Despite the recent flareups and commotion, Horne seemed readily available to make amends with Jones.

“So how about I give you my number and we just work this out? I mean we can work it out,” Horne said.

Jones shared that she stayed in a hotel for a month while the ceiling was being repaired. She also explained that she was still charged rent for that month. And in a separate incident, she said that she spent $500 of her own money to replace a broken stove unit in the kitchen.

Horne told FOX13 that he had a separate conversation with Jones to discuss possible accommodations.