How is Kay Apartment Communities helping the leaseholders and authorized occupants of Flower Branch Apartments?
- 24—quantity of apartments that are no longer habitable
- All leaseholders and their authorized occupants (households) have been contacted in our effort to secure other housing for them
- We refer to these residents as leaseholders and authorized occupants because of occupancy limits that we and the leaseholders are legally bound to follow
- We offered displaced leaseholders a comprehensive package that includes relocation, a period of free rent, a rent freeze, furnishings and emergency cash assistance, furnishings, household goods including, linens, utensils, etc.
- 18 (75%) of those apartments’ leaseholders & authorized occupants have accepted other homes with Kay Apartment Communities, as of today
- 14 households have moved into a fully furnished home
- 4 households are scheduled to move in to fully furnished homes between 8/29-9/10
- 3 displaced households have not informed us of their decision where to relocate
- 1 displaced household has found a new residence with the assistance of HOC
- 1 displaced household has made other housing arrangements
For non-displaced residents who are concerned about their safety, will you assist them in relocating?
- All of the leaseholders and authorized occupants of the 24 affected apartments have been addressed.
- Anyone living in these apartments that were not leaseholders or authorized occupants are not eligible for relocation under our assistance program
- As with anyone seeking a new apartment, those non-leaseholders/unauthorized occupants are welcome to apply for home at any Kay Apartment Community
- Extensive public and private assistance is available for these individuals, our leaseholders and authorized occupants and this has been widely publicized
- We are thankful for the many government and community organizations plus countless individuals who have responded to this tragedy with overwhelming financial, material and personal support
Were there any resident concerns recorded about smelling gas prior to the incident?
In 2016, at the affected buildings, we had received two documented concerns of the smell of natural gas in an apartment, one in January and one in May. In both cases no gas leaks were found. We do not know if any resident contacted Washington Gas about the smell of gas. Those are the only documented reports of the smell of natural gas other than the call to 911 on July 25, 2016.
Have gas fittings been changed in the apartments since the incident occurred?
Anytime gas is turned off then back on again, a pressure test is required by the local utility(s). It’s not uncommon during the process to find fittings that require replacement. Any fittings that needed replacement were resolved the day of the inspection.
What did Washington Gas find upon inspection after the fire at Flower Branch Apartments?
On Tuesday, August 16th, Washington Gas said Monday’s tests “confirmed the integrity of the Washington Gas infrastructure tested.” Washington Gas went on to say “the gas system in the surrounding area was also determined to be sound.”
There have been reports of 1,600 violations on the property in the last nine years. What does this mean?
Those violations have been over a nine year time period for nearly 400 apartments and include many minor infractions such as trash on the balcony. Our most recent inspection in 2013 included 545 violations, all of which were corrected within 30 days. We have an excellent track record of working with Montgomery County DHCA.
What is Kay Apartment Communities doing to keep residents informed?
We are in touch with our residents through our normal communication methods (phone calls, letters, etc.) and have been participating in calls and meetings with community groups. In addition, we continue to keep the residents and community members updated on our blog, Facebook page and Twitter accounts.
Has Kay Apartment Communities supported any of the community organizations helping those affected?
We have worked collaboratively with CASA de Maryland and IMPACT Silver Spring to assist residents. Kay Apartment Communities has also made a financial donation to the Montgomery County Housing Partnership.
Will the apartment buildings be rebuilt?
There are no immediate plans for reconstruction, but as we have more information, we will keep this document updated.
Why hasn’t Kay Apartment Communities been more vocal in the media?
Our focus and efforts have been and continue to be supporting the people and families that were affected by this tragedy.
Will residents be allowed into apartments to retrieve any items anytime soon?
UPDATE – September 2, 2016: Many have questions about these buildings such as if/when former residents will have access or if/when the buildings will be removed. The answer is we do not know yet. Since the beginning of the tragedy, we have been following the instructions of various government agencies & departments who were in charge of the area. Now, we are waiting for further inspections by our insurance company and Washington Gas. Once these inspections are complete and the reports are issued, we hope to provide you with more information so you will know what to expect about buildings 8701 and 8703. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Although the NTSB recently concluded its on-scene work at Flower Branch Apartments and has released the property to Kay Apartment Communities, Kay’s engineers have indicated that because the structural integrity has been compromised at the fire-damaged buildings. It is far too dangerous to allow anyone to enter the secured area, except those professionals directly involved with the ongoing investigation and site management. We certainly understand there are many former residents and others who would likely want access to the buildings and surrounding area, however, it would be irresponsible of us to allow access at this time.