updated 1:55 p.m. PT, Thurs., March. 26, 2009
Nicholle Krause first noticed the weeds sprouting in the usually well-manicured grounds of her 320-unit apartment complex in Chandler, Ariz., in December. Soon, signs of neglect began multiplying: Garbage spilled over from the dumpsters, the water in the swimming pool turned a slimy pea green and the grounds were infested by swarms of bees — especially alarming because Krause is severely allergic to bee stings.
“I couldn’t even go outside to enjoy where I live,” said Krause, a 21-year-old office worker who pays $827 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with garage space. “I shouldn’t have to pay $800 a month to live in a … hole.”
It wasn’t until early March that Krause and other residents learned why the complex – the alluringly named Alante at the Islands — was rapidly going to seed. The property owner, Irvine, Calif.-based Bethany Holdings Group, had abandoned the complex and a dozen other large rental properties in the greater Phoenix area after defaulting on hundreds of millions of dollars in loans.