Prince George’s County has been temporarily ordered to stop its efforts to condemn the financially troubled Lynnhill Condominium Complex in Temple Hills and allow residents unrestricted access to the buildings for at least another week.
However, the buildings will remain dark and without heat, because utility service was not ordered immediately restored by Judge Leo Edward Green Jr.
"We getting our stuff out. I'm not about to keep living like this," Tenikki Deese said.
"We've been having issues with the elevators. You know just everything," Terry Deese added. "You walking up and downstairs. The rodents. The paint. Roaches came from everywhere. I'm just tired of it. It's just time to go."
Green told attorneys he will continue to consider what to do about the utilities after receiving more information from PEPCO and Washington Gas in the coming days, according to Maryland Senator C. Anthony Muse who was briefed on Green’s decision late Thursday.
Utilities were cut to the complex Tuesday because the condominium association is more than $1-million behind on its utility bills, and attempts to take the complex through chapter 11 bankruptcy have failed.
Prince George’s County officials condemned the complex under its livability and safety codes immediately due to the lack of utilities, and gave residents 72 hours to move out.
Seventy-seven families, both tenants and owners, are facing homelessness.
The troubled condo complex went into bankruptcy in 2014 and had been overseen by a federal bankruptcy court appointed trustee in a failed attempt to allow the condo association to reorganize or to bring in an outside investor.
"The county has been knowing that we're going through this for a number of years. It's not something that just happened,” Lynnhill resident Cointhiane Johnson Boitcet said. “There were a lot of low income families that were in this building and they had asked for support."
The condo association is asking a federal judge to reopen the bankruptcy case, according to association attorney William Johnson who filed the request in federal court Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection filed an emergency request for a temporary restraining order from Judge Green to force the utilities to restore service and to order county officials to halt their condemnation order.
Green’s decision to stop only condemnation can be described as a partial victory, Muse said.