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THE COLONADE APARTMENTS
 in  JENKINTOWN, PA

  The Colonade  is a 535 unit apartment complex consisting of 2 main buildings and at one time there were some commercial establishments and a leasing office, too. That office met its demise in a fire.  Fire calls and faulty fire equipment , faulty electric and faulty emergency equiment, bursting pipes, etc were just a few  of the problems  at the complex, as the once grand showplace (formerly called the Benson East)  was allowed to slip into gross disrepair, taking longtime tenants on that ride as it went.  
     The tenants sought help from nearly every official imaginable,  yet the conditions persisted.  Endless violations were  documented by officials, multiple times --- close to 200 violations at one point,  long after the multiple violation lists should have had officials breathing down their necks to make it impossible to continue in that fashion. Yet, there were  virtually  no fines or penalties levied on  the Landlord, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars absorbed by taxpayers  in legal fees, inspections, document management and production, certifications, fire calls, reports , meetings and on and on and on -- and despite the conditions  that left tenants frequently without  heat, or with too much heat, without A/C ,  with broken elevators (depite people in wheelchairs on upper floors), with burst pipes or leaks in their homes and in common areas, lack of water, mold, and more that so many suffered.  In 2016 the entire Township was the recipient of a tax increase due to a 1.1 million dollar shortfall.  But this complex and other situations like this  explain where the money is going and why increases are needed.
       A Commissioner himself has profited directly now, too, from this ---  while offering virtually no aid to the tenants that were living in the conditions he saw. The Landlord that one would want fined, became his boss, while he also oversees the operations that would be "fining or not fining" the  errant property owner.   The  Commissioner had a leading role in shepherding through the renovations ,,,,which got ugly as the Township and the Landlord's sides disagreed as to what the law required.  Chiefly "to sprinkler or not to sprinkler"  was the premier question ----on a complex that in one 5 year period had a fire call  on an everage of  once every 8 days  The Commissioner,  with responsibilities on both sides of this argument  had what, in my mind, is a severe conflict of interest. And in that he is MY Commissioner, I have no one to complain about that to.  The entire Board and Board President  have also been made aware of the dire situstion there and of this conflict, yet it persists.  No records have been found  in the thousands that I have read that show  the concern by the Commissioner working for the Landlord or by their own Commissioner or by the Board President for the issues that the tenants brought forward on their health safety and welfare  . I and many of the residents have begged to have the issues properly addressed.  Despite tools avbailable to the Township, such as  a $1,000 per day fine for each violation, these tools were not employed --just threatened.  A lot of saber rattling, while the transgressions continued.
      Many tenants fled the conditions, many others were evicted or not renewed. Many, when they tried to withold their rent, found themselves taken to court . All of the measures came at great cost to tenants for things that were not at all in their control. Court  representation costs were a  great deterrent  for them to exert any of their rights and it was more than scarey to face  a wealthy landlord without representation, given this landlord's apparent ability to break all the rules  yet suffer no consequences.   The landlord also  threatened  eviction, which again was fraught with great cost.  A  group of residents tried to get legislators and others to come to their aid.  Retaliation legislation was penned by a local politician, but it did them no good and was never fully enacted. There seemed to be no one to enforce the many laws that could have been applied.  Individual tenants  were left to take on a wealthy, fearless, landlord with a well paid legal team on a one to one basis --an  entirely untenable situation.  Without local officials to take a stand for the residents they are supposed to represent, exactly these kinds of injustices can occur freely, as they did here.       
       A class action suit was  filed on behalf of the tenants  in November 2015 .  But the citizens of Abington  -- all its citizens ----- will also be paying through the nose for all of the actions that were required at this property . The actions included among the many legal actions, even a 5 million dollar lawsuit  and a 75,000 +  lawsuit, filed, if you can believe it , against the Township in a struggle to maintain that sprinklers would not be needed.  The entire process and the story told in the documents of the renovations, is one that everyone should read for themselves,  There is little more that can be said except that I, in my own humble opinion, having read a majority of the documents in the massive volume that exists in this case, have on going concerns for what the future of this property may be.   

    If you believe any part of this, with the exception of my own opinions on the subject,  is incorrect, I urge you to share that information,  so any errors may be corrected .

   To be connected in to the information loop on this topic   AND  with other tenants both current and former,   if you are an Abington residents, please  send me an email

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  if you are in another apartment complex, either by the same owner or elsewhere and would like to get connected in to a loop with other residents,  please  send me an email

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Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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