Reading tenants displaced by flood want more help from landlord

In Reading, at the Reading Commons apartment complex, it was a Mother’s Day surprise no one wants.

Late Saturday afternoon, in Building 2, a heat loop pipe failed, and quickly, three apartments were flooded.

Tenant Joanna Buchino couldn’t believe her eyes.

“I looked up and I saw a bubble that was dripping water above the island. And I started freaking out,” Buchino told me.

At the same time, upstairs, Leanna Lucas, who uses a wheelchair, came home, and was shocked.

“There was so much water on the floor I couldn’t go in, it would have short circuited my wheelchair,” Lucas said.

The tenants took video of the damage Monday, two days later.

On Saturday, Reading’s Board of Health ruled the flood made three units uninhabitable.

That means Joanna and her family, and Leanna and her son are living in a hotel, and they don’t know for how long.

They tell me their landlord is not doing enough to help them out.

“It’s just unacceptable. We pay $4,200 a month for this apartment. They have no problem being on our case if we are, God forbid, late a day for rent. But now there is a major issue going on that has displaced three families, and no one can call us back,” Buchino said.

“I don’t have the ability to jump in a car and sleep on someone’s couch,” Lucas said. “My home is destroyed, I’m displaced with my 12-year-old son.”

I reached out to the landlord to see if they could do more to help these tenants; they took my information.

Meanwhile, Joanna and Lee are waiting for help.

“I’m so stressed out. I’m angry beyond words,” Buchinko said. “As a mother, especially on Mother’s Day, it’s my job to make sure that my family is safe and healthy and thriving in a good comfortable environment. I can’t do that right now.”

“To pack up everything and move. I need help. I can’t physically do it. I have to find a driver; I have to find people to help my pack up my things and move everything for me. I wish they’d offer a little help there to,” Lucas added.

Town officials tell me Joanna and Leanna’s apartments will have to be completely rewired before anyone can move back in.

And that’s a long process and could take weeks or more.

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