WAUKESHA, Wis. — It's been more than a month since 65 homeowners at the Horizon West Condominium got the news that they would no longer be able to come back and live inside the place they once called home. And since then, they say the headaches keep coming.
"I should have never been sold a unit in that building. All of us are still paying our mortgages and paying our association dues and even paying utilities," said Horizon West condo owner, David Secor.
Since being told that his condo was uninhabitable, Secor has moved to Green Bay to live with his father, and was recently hit with some troubling news.
"They want to bill us $40,000 a person to take the building down," said Secor.
On January 3rd, the city of Waukesha and the fire department ordered that the Horizon West Condo must be torn down within 120 days. Citing that the building's steel columns were rusting and therefore structurally deficient. And condo owners say they may have to pay $40,000 each for the demolition.
"I have to pay a mortgage and then I have to pay you $40,000 to tear my home down. That makes no sense," said Secor.
Residents say they'd rather see the building get fixed instead of demolished. But documents show the building's contractor says, "The repairs to the building far exceed the value of the building as it is now".
"It leaves us in no man's land right now. We have to come up and make a decision without all of the facts," said Secor.
Condo owners do have 30 days to appeal the raze order. It will be discussed at the condo's board meeting this Tuesday.
Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard previously described the discovery of imminent collapse like "peeling an onion," as the condo association that owns the building, as well as the fire department slowly learned of more issues with the building's construction.
"On behalf of the city, our heart goes out to the families that are involved with this issue. Obviously, it's not a good situation for anyone at all," said Administrator Kevin Lahner last month.
The fire chief said in a strange way a previous windstorm that damaged the Carroll University area and peeled soffit off the condo helped exposed issues that probably would not have been detected until something "catastrophic" would have happened with a balcony.
Howard explained the issues centered around a water problem and rust impacting structural columns.
The chief continued that it is the fire department's duty to check buildings every year for fire prevention. That duty is mandated by the state of Wisconsin. But there is no annual check-up for a building's structural integrity - unless a weakness is apparent to fire inspectors.