A condo controversy is brewing in Muhlenberg Twp., Berks Co. A building complex has been auctioned off and converted into rented apartments.
The only problem is, multiple units were owned and people were paying off their mortgages. Now, they're being told they need to also pay rent or leave.
"It's sick. It's really sick you can do this to people's lives," said Teresa Fusco, who has since moved out of her condo.
The American dream has come crashing down on Fusco. Three years ago she purchased a condo in the complex called Deer Path Woods.
"I didn't worry about it because I owned my place, had a deed and a mortgage and I paid my taxes," Fusco said.
Last fall, Fusco started to worry. Her building's owner went into foreclosure. The complex was bought by local developer Kevin Timochenko, whose Metropolitan Management Group owns apartments across Berks County.
The attorney who represents the new owner told 69 News in a statement, "Due to the change of ownership to a responsible company, the physical condition of the property is being enhanced and property values in and around the community are improving," said Nicole Plank with Georgeadis II Setley.
Timochenko converted the complex, which included 11 condo owners into rented apartments. Fusco said they were told pay rent in addition to their mortgage or leave.
"I refused to do that because I felt I owned my wood floors and my stainless steel appliances, and I owned my tile," said Fusco.
Fusco has packed up and moved out, but her neighbor David Wendell is putting up a fight.
"The money that I owe off my bank to the money they're offering is not enough to pay off my mortgage," said Wendell.
Fusco said she is now left in financial ruin. She said an independent appraiser valued her condo earlier this year at $101,000. When Timochenko had the property appraised, she said the average value was only around $35,000. Meantime, she still owes around $71,000 on her mortgage for a property she doesn't own anymore.
"I want fair market value for my house so I can pay off my mortgage and I can start over," said Fusco.
Plank went on to say "It is unfortunate that it appears 11 individuals were convinced to make a very bad investment when they purchased a condominium from a company that had no idea how to manage, market and sell condominiums."
Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks Co., has gotten involved trying to introduce legislation to prevent something like this from happening again.