Woman says vacant condo has made her sick

Published: May. 16, 2016 at 6:53 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2016 at 8:17 PM CDT
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More photos from the vacant condo. (Source: Katie Burrowes)
More photos from the vacant condo. (Source: Katie Burrowes)

VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) - A Vestavia Hills woman says the condo next door to her has been vacant for three years and blames its condition for her health problems.

"I've been sick since January. I've been to the doctor numerous times and I can never get well. Bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, that just won't go away -  my cat even got sick," Katie Burrowes said.

When Katie Burrowes' neighbor moved out, she says all of this was left behind.

"The condo under me has been vacant for several years and I talked to the woman and she told me it was flooded," Burrowes said.

Burrowes took pictures and shared them with WBRC.

"The window happened to be open and I looked in there and what I saw was disgusting. It was completely filthy and what I believe is mold," Burrowes said.

She is particularly concerned about this light fixture that appears to be hanging from the ceiling by a cord.

Burrowes said at the time when she took this picture, the electricity was still on in the unit.

After trying to resolve the problem on own, she then turned to our Call for Action team.

"The Homeowner's association is aware, I've contacted the landlord, called Vestavia police through their action center and I've called the health department and everybody says they can't help me," Burrowes said.

"I've had to take time off of work. I've lost money with that. I've had to go to the doctor several times and I'm not getting better. You know the co-pays, medicine, time off work, that all adds up," Burrowes added.

We tracked down Susan Nailen, the owner, to find out why it has taken so long to clean out the condo. She didn't want to appear on camera but said she has been sick and has been taking care of a sick relative. Nailen promises to have the place fixed up by the end of the summer.

Griffin Tyndal, an attorney representing the Montreat Condominium Community Owners Association, Inc. (The Montreat COA) responded to our inquiries.

"Ms. Nailen assured the Montreat COA Board of Directors that she was going to ...have such repairs completed by May 5, 2016. Unfortunately, to date, it appears Ms. Nailen has failed to follow through," he said.

The Montreat COA has been in contact with the City of Vestavia Hills regarding this matter.

Tyndal said the city is willing to step in to get things cleaned up "if the unit is a potential fire and/or health hazard."

Tyndal is giving Nailen until Friday to clean up the the condo. If it is not done by then, he will turn the matter over to the city of Vestavia Hills.

Burrowes does not want to wait anymore. She has decided to move out.

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