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Tenants form union following maintenance issues at Lakewood apartment complex

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Jul 13, 2023

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A group of tenants at the Reed Apartments in Lakewood have formed a union in response to a list of maintenance issues they claim property management has failed to respond to.

“We've had a myriad of issues. I've had people try to kick in my door, severe security threats due to the homeless population. I've had water pressure issues. I've had work orders for over 10 months to fix my door. And just what I see around here is not right,” said Kelly Crum, Reed Apartments resident.

Crum and roughly 25 other tenants formed a union in response to what they describe as ongoing issues.

“We, as a tenants association, went and dropped our letter off yesterday — a list of concerns — just to have the management address our concerns, and to come to the table and to talk to us and come to the property and come to one of our meetings,” Crum said. “The first thing they did was run into their office, locked the doors.”

Jodi Camarillo said they were then asked by security to leave the property.

“We were met with extreme aggression immediately,” she said. “We have gotten nothing but disrespect and harassment and no action.”

Camarillo said she has been dealing with a broken swamp cooler for months.

“My swamp cooler hasn't been working since the beginning of summer. We're now in 90-degree days. It took more than nine work orders to get them to get out here and fix it. It's been leaking water all over the roof and down the building for a week and a half,” Camarillo said. “The biggest thing they could do to remedy what's going on here is simply communicate with us, communicate with us openly, honestly.”

Denver7 reached out to Liv Lavender, the company that manages the Reed Apartments, but did not receive a response by the time the original report aired.

“These tenants at the Reed, they came together. They said, "We want dignified housing. What we're demanding is not anything crazy,"” said Nate Kassa, an organizer for Denver Aurora Tenants United (DATU). “We got involved here because tenants have been expressing their concerns on a few issues, including some tenants have mold. Some tenants have been getting retaliation notices and notices on their door with threats to evict.“

According to DATU, Liv Lavender is a subsidiary of VareCo, a company that's faced scrutiny for allegedly evicting tenants from an Aurora apartment complex using armed guards.

Now, Camarillo and Crum are worried about facing eviction themselves.

“I am worried about retaliatory conduct and maybe even getting kicked out,” Crum said.

But they said remaining silent and allowing the issues to go on is not an option.

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