LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) 53 tenants at the Riverside Apartment Complex near Oakbourne in Lafayette will soon be displaced due to renovations.

Shawn Johnson is the property manager for Riverside at Oakbourne and Acadian Crossing and says said the entire complex is up for a major renovation.  

“It’s pretty extensive, I mean wall to wall, ceilings the floor. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars into these units. I mean, the living conditions are just years of neglect that have to be addressed.”

He says the goals are to first do repairs and then renovate and then modernize the property.

“Everything from granite tops, brand new appliances, new wood floors, and all new ceilings and walls, so the exterior is going to have some eye-peeling landscaping. The whole property is going to be painted. Lots of repairs need to be done to that property.” 

Johnson said most of the one-bedroom units, about seven or eight of them, received five day notices to vacate and says everyone was told about the other apartment to move into. 

“I know some of them have been there for a very long time, so we want to continue that, but we got to get in there. I mean, a lot of these rooms that we had been in there before they’re just much-needed renovations; it’s just years of neglect,” he said. “We put out a welcome letter kind of letting them know what’s going on and explaining to them that in the next 45 days that we would be going into their apartment and doing some very much needed renovation.” 

Johnson said there is a lots of work to be done, and nobody is getting forced out.

“We got a great solution over here at Acadian Crossing, where I held a handful of rooms just for them. Honor the same rate. We can include a storage unit. We can include utilities, and they’re not locked into a long-term lease. A very good solution for them to offer kind of a pivot point, you know, if you will. To either move back into the unit that they were residing in before or if they found another place.” 

Tenant Leland Landry said he was shocked, like many others, when he got an eviction notice. 

“We have been here approximately 19 years, never been late on a month’s rent, and all of a sudden we get this bombshell saying we have to move in 45 days.”

Landry said he and his wife have been retired for almost five years and adds that he is suffering with cancer.

“The lack of respect for the dedication we put into this place while we were here for almost 19 years it was like thrown out the window. People just come over and just flip your life over. It’s an inconvenience to not just me but a lot of the residents here.” 

He said once the work is done on the apartments the rent will double what he is paying now for a three-bedroom and says 45 days is not enough time to find a new place he can afford. 

“Once you are a senior citizen and you are on a fixed income, it is totally impossible, and I know there are other senior citizens here maybe not as much but no that’s not enough time.”

Tara Fogleman, a local community advocate speaks on the matter.

“We have enough issues with our council members and our mayor-president not thinking about people on the Northside and the issues and the crisis that we face day to day without having big corporations coming to Lafayette from Covington, causing some disruptions.”

A tenant who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “The last month, I’m going to say everyone had been feeling it. These past two weeks have been terrible for us because this new property manager is not doing anything. If he is doing anything, he is terrorizing you. Every day he is either calling or texting you and people still have to work. It is already stressful enough to try to find a place to live. Trying to be able to find the time to pack to be able to afford to get a new place as well as get a U-Haul and everything to try and move. This company, this man does not care. They do not care.” 

I am making more of an effort to go around and knocking on doors,” Johnson said.

“I know some of the connect information hasn’t been consistent you know, but I work with them every day and all I really want is just a more solid date on what works best for them so we can keep together with that schedule, that timeline which is pretty important,” he said.

You can reach him at (337) 288-0089.