NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha is taking a closer look at Vista Management after nearly five dozen condominiums that it’s responsible for were condemned last week.
Dozens of residents living in North Providence’s Canterbury Village were forced from their homes after the town’s building inspector and fire department deemed one of the buildings uninhabitable.
North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi claims Vista Management has been uncooperative ever since a pipe burst in the now-condemned building earlier this year. The building’s condition deteriorated over time to the point where it is unlivable and riddled with safety hazards, according to the town.
The town has demanded Vista Management make the necessary repairs to the building so residents can return home. Lombardi said the town will place lien on the condemned building, meaning no one can live there until Vista Management has “made the town whole.”
He’s also worried for residents living in other buildings maintained by Vista Management.
“I don’t like what I know,” Lombardi said, referencing the concerns brought to his attention by other tenants. “It needs to be squared away.”
Meanwhile, residents living in other buildings at Canterbury Village received notices on their doors warning that their water could be shut off due to a hefty unpaid bill.
The Narragansett Bay Commission confirmed Tuesday that the bill has been paid and the water will not be shut off, but residents tell 12 News they’re still frustrated with the lack of communication.
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Neronha said his office has not received any criminal complaints regarding Vista Management, but has been asked to review its business practices.
“The question is always … do we have a hook?” he said. “Do we have an angle? Is there some way that we can use our powers to fix the situation?”
When asked whether his office was actively searching for that “hook,” Neronha said absolutely.
“We’ll see if we have the legal tools to address it,” Neronha said. “If we come to a place where there is a step that we can take to protect Rhode Islanders, you can be certain we are going to do that.”
“We have a terrific consumer team that can handle any kind of problem,” Neronha said. “We get hundreds of calls a month. We could literally double that number if Rhode Islanders knew that we were there to help them.”
Lombardi previously hinted that repairs to the condemned building would begin soon. 12 News stopped by Canterbury Village Tuesday but did not see anyone actively working on the building.
Though most displaced residents opted to stay with family and friends, the town has been assisting those who have nowhere else to go.
The town demanded that Vista Management take over providing temporary housing for its tenants, but it’s unclear if that has actually happened. Lombardi said the town would do everything in its power to make sure residents are safe should Vista Management not step up to the plate.