77 Maryland Families Evicted After Their Condo Association Fails to Pay Utility Bills

After their condo association failed to pay utility bills, 77 Maryland families were forced out of their homes Wednesday.

But even on one of the worst days of their lives, there were signs of hope.

Community organizations, politicians and local businesses converged on the Lynnhill Condominiums in Temple Hills to try to help the families who remained. 

Their homes were declared unfit to live in after electric and gas service was shut off Tuesday. The condo association hadn't paid $1.2 million in utility bills.

That meant all the residents had to leave. They were given three days to move out -- with no electricity.

"We were sleeping in cars yesterday, " said Dana Messey Moore, wiping away tears. "The shelters ran out of space."

She stuffed belongings into containers as she struggled to move her family.

"It doesn't feel good," she said. "To have something taken from you that you worked so hard for."

The good news: People have flocked to the condominium in the wake of news coverage of the eviction. One group that responded was Mess Movers, which showed up with trucks. The company is donating its services.

"We had to do what we could to make a difference," said Terry Epps, owner of the company.

Gates, Hudson and Associates, an apartment management company, arrived to help residents find new homes in their available properties in the county. They are waiving application fees.

The company offered a grateful Messey Moore a chance to apply for an apartment.

Meanwhile, Prince George's County's emergency management department brought a large light down to help people see as they pack.

The drama at Lynnhill Condominiums in Temple Hills has been building for years; the complex has a history of code violations that stretches back into the late 1990s. The complex filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010.

More recently, the condo association alleged that a past management company was misusing residents' condo fees.

"What they did was they were taking owners' condo fees and not paying utilities," said Stanley Briscoe, the condo association's treasurer.

The condo board treasurer said he was frustrated, because he had hoped the association could reach an agreement with Pepco.

The utilities have said they had worked with the complex for years, but said they had no choice after failed payment plans couldn't get accounts caught up.

To help the Lynnhill residents, click here and go to "Neighbors in Need."

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