Residents of Detroit high rise apartments struggle with broken elevators

Tenants say elevators in 30-floor building haven’t worked in years

DETROIT – Residents of a high rise apartment building in Detroit say the elevators haven’t worked well in years.

Residents at the Jeffersonian Apartments, a 30-floor apartment building, say the elevator situation has been less than ideal for the last several years.

“The middle elevator hasn’t worked in a good two or three years,” said Brittany Foot, who has lived in the complex since 2016. “The other two that everybody uses haven’t worked since August.”

“I wake up early just in case the elevator doesn’t work, so then I can take 20 flights of stairs to make sure I’m at work on time,” said another resident, Larfay Austin.

Without reliable, functioning elevators, minor errands have become a massive struggle for those living in the complex on East Jefferson Avenue.

“It’s terrible because we live so high, it’s a tower,” Foot said.

According to the residents, the freight elevator is an option sometimes -- but not always.

“If someone is moving in or ... like the other day, the EMS had to cut the elevator off and everybody had to use the stairs,” Foot said. “What if we had an emergency and had to get out of there?”

Like others who have called or email Local 4, tenants feel like their concerns are falling on deaf ears. But they have also pointed out that management companies don’t tend to last long here.

“It’s hard to say if the management company cares about the people in the building, or if it’s a money grab,” Austin said. “The new management company is trying to keep up and they can’t.

“Talk to your tenants, see what they need,” Austin added. “If you cant take care of the elevator, put something together where we don’t have to lug our trash 29 floors to the bottom.”

On Sunday, two elevator repair crews were at the apartment building. Local 4 reached out to the management company for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

Related: Families living without water, heat, elevators in Detroit apartment building reach out for help

About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism