Public Mediation

Just Want to Breathe vs. Booker Park North, Community Management, Dhic

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Smoking Kills and Ignoring it Does Also!!!

M. A. vs. Booker Park North, Community Management, Dhic
P.O. Box 25168, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 27114, United States
    • Claimant Seeks: View.
    • Claim #: 1762683
    • Amount Involved: 40,000.00
    • Filed On: Oct 27, 2020
    • Posted On: Nov 07, 2020
    • Complaint(s):
      • Bad business practices
      • Problem with a service
      • Customer service runarounds
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Statement of Claim
"From July 16, 2019, I have inhaled second hand cigarette smoke either from the parking lot and from the apartment under me. Booker Park North initially did not acknowledge my reports of this second hand smoke as well as Community Management and DHIC. Many months went by before I received my first email from you acknowledging receipt of my correspondences reporting that second hand smoke was coming into my apartment and that the designated smoking area placed close to the building, in front of handicap parking and non handicap, and the walkway to catch the bus was a problem for me as being handicapped and 70 years of age. After I advocated for myself and others over a period of time, August 18, 2020, the designated smoking area was relocated where the smoke would not injure or challenge the health of other residents. But for 13 months I inhaled the smoke from those smoking in a group where I parked. Now all parties, Community Management, Booker Park North, and DHIC are refusing to use the technology that many hotels and apartment complexes and renters have implemented to determine whether or not that tenant is smoking. As you know, I have provided that information to you as well as methods of how to legally address those who violate the lease via smoking within the apartment homes. I even gave the suggestions of conducting educational sessions for the smokers, increasing their awareness that there are medical protocols to help one stop smoking, and having a contest with prizes for those who attend these groups and for those who actually stop smoking as I have seen residents barely able to walk with a walker killing their lungs. The neighbor below my unit smokes cigarettes or/and marijuana between the hours of 2 to 5 am. this drifts into all the rooms in my housing.
As you know, the site manager had to call the ambulance for me as I had become overcome with symptoms that were life threatening. Also, you are aware that I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and yet I could not stay in my own apartment when I returned home from the hospital due to second hand cigarette smoke and marijuana. To stay alive, stayed at a hotel for $98.00 just to get a nights rest from the hospital. Yet, Booker Park North, Community Management, and DHIC have no empathy and will not refund the hotel charge. I could not afford this hotel sleep over, but I could not afford to breathe in the toxic matter into my lungs being recently released from the hospital.
It appears that there is a willful allowance of this tenant smoking without any type of disciplinary actions. Booker Park North, Community Management and DHIC will not do what can be done to find out who is actually smoking in the building. During the past 4 months, all of you have allowed the smoking and did absolutely nothing. Now you are using flyers, walk throughs, questioning neighbors and "nose smell" instead of using devices that would take the guessing out and determine who actually is smoking in a smoke free complex. It is a well known fact that individuals know how to hide the fact that one is smoking and know how to use Odor Ban to get rid of the smell. Thus visiting a tenants unit or my own 6 hours later is not sufficient. I cannot afford to allow the second hand cigarette smoke/marijuana to linger in my home because of my illnesses which you are aware of.

This situation has affected me physically as my doctors have sent various letters to management, emotionally, and mentally. The person underneath has been allowed to smoke and this is altering all aspects of my life, destroyed my peace of mind, and increased my expenses via holistic protocol, medication and co pays to the doctors. Pulmonary rehab had to be postponed because I could not sleep at night and I was afraid to drive to my appointments half sleep. The moment the sickening chemicals would hit my nose, I would start coughing, my nose would burn for hours, and my brain could no longer relax and go back to sleep. In fact, according to medical studies that have been performed on the effects of secondhand smoke, my life and ability to breathe is being shortened with each inhale of these toxic substances. Even though my emails to you have expressed these same concerns, not one response included any empathy or understanding for my experiences--not one email showed any regard for my life and my right for safe housing where I could live without fear for my welfare and enjoy the ability to live a quality of life.

Your email responses to me were mean spirited and disrespectful; denying my experiences.

When I endeavored to share with management that I saw a tenant come on the balcony from her residence with a cigarette in her hand as if it was not a smoke free location, management did not wish to know.

This brought me great concern because individuals have oxygen tanks in their apartments. This lack of enforcement of the no smoking policy by inserting a clause in the lease that DHIC, Community Management, and Booker Park North cannot be held responsible as one may experience smoke, is a very deadly matter. One cigarette near an oxygen tank is bye bye!!!

The individual who has been smoking in the flat underneath me also was one who smoked at the original designated smoking area that had been placed with little regard for the health of the tenants who did not smoke. It is documented that the more I advocated for the removal of the first location for smoking, the more the secondhand cigarette smoke would drift into my home. There is a frightful correlation between my attempts to have the unsafe designated smoking area moved to a more feasible location for all those who lived at Booker Park North, the more I was "forced" to breathe in the harmful substances flowing into my residence.

It was noted in many of my emails to Booker Park North, Community Management, and DHIC how I was typing the composition to you during every early morning hours due to waking up choking, coughing, and unable to breathe.

This was reported to the mayor of Raleigh, Senator David Price, Wells Fargo, NC Agency on Housing, medical providers and others during my desperation to get some relief from this continual smoking during the early morning hours. You have been contacted by each. Once again, my medical providers sent letters after letters advising that the smoking needed to be addressed for reasons of my health conditions.

Rather than issue warnings to the smoker and terminate the lease of the smoker, you offered me funds to move and even to pay a deposit at another location, but my health declined so that I could not and still unable to do anything especially with my right arm and hand.

It is my position that I should not be the one moving because I have not violated the lease. As long as I behave in a responsible manner and do not violate the lease, I do not want to move. The medical conditions make it almost impossible for me to move now. And why should I?

Your actions appear rather discriminatory. Because when I applied at the brand new sister property which banned smoking anywhere on the property meaning no pets or any type of cigarette smoking, etc., the offer for assistance to move was not on the table. My credit was excellent, my rental history superb, and no negative behaviors that affecting my tenure at any apartment; my application that I had to fight to get recognized was approved. Originally my application was not recognized and I had to send emails and make calls to see what had happened to my application at this sister location. Yet no offer was made to me so I could have moved to this beautiful new complex managed by DHIC and Community Management. The emails show that I requested assistance to move to the one of the units at this fabulous location but was denied by DHIC and Community Management. This was okay because I had become afraid to move to the new apartment that had been built so much better than the one I now reside in, Booker Park North. The fear came after I saw several young men smoking cigarettes and possibly marijuana on the property that had no designated smoking area...they were on the property at the mail boxes where I would have to go daily. Also trash was in the parking area. When I shared with Community Management and DHIC what I saw, there was no response.

As a result of seeing trash on the grounds and individuals smoking in a brand new location managed by Community Management and owed by DHIC that advertised to be 100% smoke free with no designated smoking area, I realized that it would not have been feasible for me to have sacrifices and borrowed money to move to this beautiful complex if DHIC and Community Management were going to conduct business as they have been doing at Booker Park North!!!

I was jumping from the frying pan into the fire as far as attempting to avoid cigarette and marijuana smoke. Thus, I withdrew my application after management did not reply to my concerns that I had seen the night before I was supposed to have signed the new lease thinking i was avoiding the experience of smoking and would be able to live the remainder of my life in safety and peace.

Community Management has a very poor rating and DHIC had many good reviews due to the previous President who has now retired; however, it appears that that may change now because the new President of DHIC never ever responded to any of my cries for help at Booker Park North. It looks like that she really has no concern for the residents as the previous leader had. Profit seems to be the bottom line now at DHIC as well as Community Management during this 2020.

Terminating a resident is a pain that includes having to do the paperwork to secure a replacement for the vacancy. The site manager has often conducted herself in such a manner that it has been very difficult for me to have repairs performed in my apartment. Water bugs were at Booker Park North when I moved in as the summer was very hot in 2019. After reporting the bugs, she sent me an offensive email claiming that I must not clean my home well. This was so unprofessional and rude to compose to a tenant that she did not even know. I am the kind of resident who is obsessive and compulsive about keeping where I live neat, clean, sanitized and attractive. Two Labor Day weekends straight, the request for repairs were not addressed. These repairs were urgent and necessary ...an overflowing commode (2019) and a malfunctioning heating and air (2020).
Community Management and DHIC expected me to stay for two nights in an apartment where the heat registered 92 degrees. I had to go to a hotel and again Booker Park North, Community Management, and DHIC did not wish to refund the money for this necessary stay. Emails after emails had to be sent.

As i compose this with documents for everything that I am alleging, I am realizing an ugly pattern of behavior toward me from the initial application process when I asked how the smoke free policy would be implemented has lasted to the present moment.

A paper trail has been created just in case there are denials of what I am stating.

My complaint that I have suffered since July 16, 2019, to this very moment from breathing in secondhand cigarette smoke in a "smoke free" senior apartment complex for those 62 and over stands. The inability to live my social life as a result of being too tired to function during the day because I did not get any sleep, missing vital doctor appointments and physical therapy sessions, times of depression and anxiety in that I feel that I am so alone in this fight, painful days/night when Fibromyalgia and Arthritis flare up because of undue stress, stabbing pain from narrowing in my upper neck and lower back, and feeling that I will never have tranquility of spirit and mind because managements do not have an active, assertive plan in place to catch those who wish to still smoke in a "smoke free" is devastating. And various agencies do not require that if a complex is designated as "smoke free" than it must be "smoke free" or put away the "smoke free" signs in every corner. That managing companies do not get away with a "clause" in the lease but have a viable system for catching smokers 24/7. Technology is out there. There is no room for excuse. Owners have a legal right to implement the "smoke free" policy that is within the lease. They have a right but now where is the "want to"!

Enough is enough!!!



















5"
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Exhibits View
Additional Communication Between Claimant and Booker Park North, Community Management, Dhic Hide
  • Nov 06, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • My breathing has become more laborious and I am now under the care of a home health agency. Yesterday, Thursday, November 5, 2020, the nurse put up all the windows but the blinds are much too hard for me to pull down due to inflammation and arthritis . An email has been sent by the social worker to please install handicap friendly blinds. Unfortunately, the windows could not stay up to allow fresh air for better breathing because the "designated smoking area" in this senior "smoke free" complex had been moved and placed just a few feet from my bedroom windows. Several tenants were smoking and my bedrooms were filled with smoke.
    This appears to be in retaliation as I shared adamantly against the "designated smoking area being in the area where one had to walk to catch the bus and enter and exist our vehicles. Now if I wish to open my windows, I am still exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke. This is a senior apartment, smoke free, and I cannot breathe due to marijuana and secondhand cigarette smoke.Management has not responded. Instead, I got a letter from Community Managements attorney advising me to with refrain from emailing the management company any more as "your repeated email communications have disrupted my client's ability to conduct its daily business".
    I have attempted to move but the house that met my medical needs suddenly became no longer available and after a recent hospitalization, I am not able to move. There has been a recent shooting almost directly across from my apartment. A silencer appears to have been used. Thus, requested that management may wish to employ security as both complexes are managed by Community Management. After that email, I received this letter from the attorney. The person smoking under me may be a relative of the site manager or a tenant that moved here from another apartment complex that the site manager also managed. Due to this personal closeness to the tenant under me, there seems to be no desire to really identify the person who is breaking the lease by smoking. Community Management, DHIC, and Booker Park North has been sent the attached information to assist them. As a result of new technology, there are devices now that will notify management immediately when a tenant is smoking inside of the apartment that is smoke free. It seems like this information that I sent all three was disregarded. Instead, flyers were sent out and management used the "nose" test 5-6 hours after the reported smoking. It is very easy now for anyone to use products to clean the apartment of any evidence of smoking. If it is true that the tenant is a close friend of the site manager or even a relative, them the perpetrator may have been warned. It is my position that I should not have to move as I am not violating the lease; management needs to stop protecting the person (s) who is/are smoking and use all available resources to pinpoint all individuals who are violating the "smoke free" policy and harming others. Or stop adopting the smoke free policy. It takes effort and time to keep a complex smoke fee as individuals will challenge the policy. If it is too difficult, then discontinue deceiving applicants by putting in the lease the residence is "smoke free" and placing signs everywhere but not implementing the policy to the fullest extent. This smoking occurs nightly between 2-6 a.m. Management is not present. A new device called FreshAir Sensor can detect cigarette and marijuana smoke and then send out an immediate alert 24 hours a day/7 days a week. There is no excuse for not knowing who is smoking. Everyday my lifespan is being shortened by marijuana and secondhand cigarette smoke in this advertised smoke free 62 and over senior apartment complex managed by Community Management and operated by DHIC.

  • Nov 11, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • Please do not have your attorney contact me directly. As stated on this post, settlement offers and communications should be made to me only via Peopleclaim or the attorney that may speak with you within the next 2 weeks. I may continue to report directly to Community Management, Booker Park North or DHIC regarding reports of second hand cigarette smoke, rent issues, safety development on the property, and medical. Any legal issues are to be discussed via this portal only. Cease and Desist contacting me directly via USPS, email or any other medium. Thank you

  • Nov 11, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • At 1:30 a.m., Thursday early morning, November 12, 2020, awaken by the strong smell of "weed" or marijuana. This affected my breathing, my nose started running, and now I can't go back to sleep. I have a doctor's appointment at 6:30 a.m. and have to drive 45 minutes away from my home. As I am 71, these occurrences make it very challenging to be able to keep my appointments and responsibilities when I have been awaken by either cigarette or marijuana smoke in a "smoke free apartment for 62 and over". This person who is violating the lease with the permission of management is placing my life in danger. Once again there are devices available to DHIC, Booker Park North, and Community Development which would alert the entities the moment smoking would occur and identify which apartment the smoke would be coming from. It seems to be coming directly from the tenant underneath me. By 11 a.m., hours later, this tenant can "clean up" all evidence of smoking.

  • Nov 16, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • On Friday, November 13, 2020, an email was sent to Senator Burr's office and North Carolina Housing Finance Agency regarding my situation with Booker Park North, Community Management, and DHIC.

    Interestingly, on Sunday (a non work day), November 15, 2020, a Community Impact Resident Survey was placed on all the doors of the 72 residents here. It appears that each survey has the apartment number of the tenant on it; thus, the resident is identified instead of remaining anonymous without any fear of reprisal.

    Is it coincidental that the survey questions are very similar to the concerns I expressed in my emails sent on Friday, November 13, 2020? Why are residents unable to truthfully express satisfaction or dissatisfaction or possible smoking issues inside of this "smoke free" residence without fearing the consequences?
    Is this another method to deny the validity of my claim???



  • Nov 16, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • Please note the following:

    Staff initially told me that the smoking area would be near the dumpster.
    (Instead, it was in the walkway and parking area and now moved to a location just a few feet from my window and I cannot open my windows to get fresh air circulating in my apartment so I can breathe better. This is documented)

    Thus, from July 16, 2019 to present time I have been exposed to continual second hand cigarette smoke either from the unit underneath me or from the designated smoking areas.

    Even though I have complained in writing, the latest modern technology has not been implemented to my knowledge to determine the validity of my reports. I also was told that the tenant who had three reports would be in violation of the lease.

    My health is declining, my rights as a person with disabilities have been violated.

    Assistance to move was not offered when my application for the new Beacon Ridge apartments accepted my application. This location supposedly allows no designated smoking or pets. Unfortunately, I did see individuals smoking at the mailbox which was on the property. There was no response to my email about this until over a month later which stated, "we no not immediately respond".

    All of the statements indicated by the negotiators are true. This is not a light matter and should not be disregarded as frivolous.

    Prior to seeking legal assistance, I have used all means necessary to resolve this matter and now various agencies have begun to scrutinize Booker Park North, Community Management, and DHIC/dhic.

    This is an opportunity to reach a win-win closure to this claim before direct, legal assistance is secured.

  • Nov 18, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • Late night Tuesday, November 17, 2020, cigarette/marijuana smoke floated into my apartment. Thus, no sleep as a result of my inflammatory response to this event.
    I have a 9 a.m. medical appointment about 3 hours away and have to drive there fatigued with no rest. May have to get a hotel room because the return trip home will be too much for me without sleep.
    October 8 to 10, 2020, hospitalized. After returning home, the smoke was so much that I had to rent a hotel room to stay one night because of constant smoke that had greatly affected my breathing. The one night reprieve from these toxic chemicals cost me $90.79. Community Management refused to reimburse me for this. I am a 71 on limited income.
    Because of this, I have had to spend additional money, $150.00 to purchase a machine that would absorb the marijuana and cigarette smoke. But once it hits my nose, there is no more sleep for me. I must leave the area when this machine is on.
    Thus, this is causing devastation to me financially and aggravating present medical conditions and even contributing to other compromised health issues.
    One of the companies that has the latest technology to identity immediately to management who is actually smoking inside of there unit without compromise is called FreshAir Sensor. If management/owners would acquire go beyond "nose smell" and "eye examines", this stressful situation challenging my peace of mind and my physical safety would be over.
    The "designated smoking area" was relocated from the parking lot where all tenants were "forced" to breathe in second hand smoke, to the back side just a few feet from my window. So I cannot even open my windows to my bedrooms to allow fresh air as the second hand smoke enters. This could be construed as "deliberate with intent to encourage me to move".

  • Nov 18, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • The attach picture shows the "designated smoking area" where the bench is, the apartment on second floor where the smoke seems to come from, and my apartment top floor where I experience second hand cigarette smoke/marijuana daily; either from the unit underneath me or from the designated smoking area when I attempt to let up my windows up to get fresh air as my home health nurse advised me to do. It is medically necessary that I do not inhale these substances that are very toxic and making me sicker and sicker.

  • Nov 21, 2020, Claiming party added:
  • Sunday, November 22, 2020, about 5:55 a.m. EST, I woke up to second hand cigarette smoke floating into my bedroom from what appears to be from the unit underneath me. During my visit to the asthma/allergy specialist on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, I have a high inflammatory response to these toxic chemicals as I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Small Cell Neuropathy. I was very challenging driving to this appointment that was 3 hours away to a specialist who was well familiar with all my medical conditions. Because I had inhale what appeared to be marijuana smoke the early morning hours of this medical appointment, I had to stay in a hotel overnight as I could not safely drive back home. Thus, there is another hotel stay and co-pays for medication to be reimbursed by Community Management/ DHIC/ Booker Park North.
    Second hand cigarette smoke and marijuana is very detrimental to my health and over all well being.
    I have submitted the specialist orders for either the person smoking under me stop smoking in a smoke free apartment complex and the "designated smoking area" near my windows be removed or the companies relocate me to another location as I cannot tolerate the present conditions. As usual, no response from anyone.

What Claimant Wants Hide
1. Compensation: months of abuse via second hand cigarette smoke Nov 11, 2020 $20,000.00
2. Damages: damages to my health Nov 11, 2020 $20,000.00
3. Other – Copy claim to regulators Nov 11, 2020 $14.99
4. Other – Pay for claim posting cost Nov 11, 2020 $14.99
5. Other – Physical delivery charges Nov 11, 2020 $21.97
Cash total : $40,051.95
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The claimant's settlement terms were rejected with no explanation. This claim will remain posted until resolved.
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  • Contributed Solution: by Sophie Blythe On 11-13-2020
    You have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) More...
If you are a party to this claim, click here.
Is this a fair resolution?
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  • Contributed Solution: by George Maxwell On 11-13-2020
    Booker Park needs to take this issue seriously to avoid far worse problems re disability protections, constructive eviction, failure to ensure habitability, etc. More...
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