INDIANAPOLIS — A New Jersey-based nonprofit that owns four large apartment complexes with more than 1,100 units in Indianapolis will be forced out of the state’s housing market after a settlement over overdue utility bills with Citizens Energy, the City of Indianapolis and the Indiana Attorney General.

“JPC Affordable Housing will sell its remaining properties in our city and will no longer do business here,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “Until a new owner is secured for these properties, Citizens Energy will keep water and utilities operational.”

“The defendants agree to sell all properties related to our lawsuit by December 31, 2022. The defendants agree to retain the submitted properties under Indiana law during the settlement period,” said AG Todd. Rokita.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Citizens Energy Group President and CEO Jeffrey Harrison.

JPC Affordable Housing refused to pay more than $2 million in overdue utility bills last winter that piled up over several months, leading to temporary water cuts to Capital Place and Berkley Commons apartments on the south side from the city.

After CEG canceled $240,000 in debt and the City paid $850,000 to partially settle the bills, JPC began making semi-regular payments as recently as Wednesday.

JPC still owes the utility $1.9 million, which is subject to the forced sale agreement brokered by the city and Rokita.

“Citizens expect to receive about 80% of the outstanding amount from JPC,” Harrison said.

Taxpayers may never get their share of the bailout, as the City will follow mortgagee Wells Fargo and CEG to join other creditors awaiting payment.

“Yeah, I guess it would be harmful,” said Hogsett, who sympathized with tenants who paid their rents in good faith to unfairly face a water cut or eviction, even though JPC acted unfairly. bad faith. “Tenants are held to this standard every day: honor your lease.”

That’s what Janena Journey said she tried to do when she was approved for the city’s rental assistance program at Woods at Oak Crossing this summer.

“They received the same email I received the day I was approved,” she said after noting that the apartment manager had received a copy of the August 1 response. .st. “The check they send will pay from August to November, so my rent is paid until November.”

Journey said she was among about two dozen residents who received eviction notices last Saturday for non-payment of rent, less than a week before the announcement of the JPC agreement with the city and the state.

“I believe they did it on purpose. Take all the money they could get before the new owners arrived.

Like all of JPC’s 3,000 tenants, Journey’s monthly utility costs are built into its rent.

“It sucks because we don’t know where our money is going,” she said. “We’re just paying rent and that’s just unprofessional.”

Journey heads to Wayne Township Small Claims Court with her tenancy assistance paperwork in hand Wednesday morning to try to explain to the judge that she’s caught up in her tenancy despite what Rokita called the ” mismanagement” of JPC properties.

“If you think your lease isn’t being honored, if you’re not getting anything, there are assistance programs to seek legal advice,” was Rokita’s advice when I asked her what Journey should do.

Woods management at Oak Crossing kicked Fox59 News out of the resort before we could ask about Journey’s rent.

Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett said state law needs to be changed to allow tenants to withhold part of their rent in escrow if the landlord breaches the lease by offering poor living conditions.

Rokita said such a proposal might be worth discussing, but he favors a legal crackdown on nonprofits that provide substandard housing and refuse to pay their bills.