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People who live at Seaview Lofts in Newport News ordered to vacate due to safety issues

City officials said the building was deemed unsafe for occupancy under state and local laws.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Time is running out for hundreds of people scrambling for a new place to stay in Newport News. A court order is forcing all residents out of Seaview Lofts by Friday morning.

The building near city hall is no longer safe to live in, according to a city letter.  

Seaview Lofts tenants 13News Now spoke with expressed worry and confusion. 

"It's such a short notice," said resident Margaret Eley. 

On Wednesday morning, many of the residents found a letter from the Newport News Department of Codes Compliance on their door. It said the building's owner failed to correct safety issues. The property has been "deemed unsafe for occupancy."

Now, the mix of families, singles, couples and elderly who live at the apartment building must leave by 9 a.m. on July 1. Some already packed their things.

Eley received a list of resources; however, she explained complications in finding a new place to call "home." 

"Nobody's taking applications. Everybody has a long list. So, I really don't know what they expect us to do," she said. 

Eley said she tried to call a couple of other complexes but to no avail. 

"I have some family here, but nobody has extra room," she said.

Eley said she knows of several people who have already paid rent for next month. Their scramble comes after a Monday city inspection.

Records obtained by 13News Now showed the elevator system overall failing an annual inspection. Documents revealed issues, like the fire extinguisher, travel cable, phone and bell.

"I like the building, and I like the location," said resident Thomas Jones.

He mentioned that he also recognizes maintenance issues, as well as what he called a "lack of communication" from property management about the situation.

However, he is holding out hope for a quick resolution.

"We should be able to stay, I believe, if the only thing they're trying to fix is the elevator," Jones said, in his opinion. 

The city letter did not specify exactly what building issue or issues led to the court order. Regardless, residents need to be out by Friday at 9 a.m. 

Residents who need assistance can call the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline at 757-227-5932.

Note: 13News Now reached out twice to the owner of Seaview Lofts for his side of the story. We have not yet heard back.

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