Lyons flood victims pay thousands to break leases and return home

Utilities turned back on earlier than anticipated

LYONS, Colo. - Many flood victims from Lyons who signed short-term leases for temporary housing can now return home, but it's going to cost them if they break their leases.

"I feel like it's kicking us while we're down," said Joseph Lekarczyk, a longtime Lyons resident.

He paid a premium for a 90-day lease at Wyndham Apartment Homes in Longmont on Oct. 4, but found out this weekend that utilities had been restored in Lyons months earlier than expected.

"We didn't think we could go home until Christmastime," said Lekarcyck. "So, that was great news."

However, when he and other flood victims checked with the apartment complex, they were told they would have to give 60 days notice before moving out.

"We're effectively being forced to pay two month's rent -- as much as $3,600 -- to break the lease," said Lekarcyck. "Yes, it's in the lease, but it just seems cold."

A group of Lyons residents gathered in the parking lot at the complex to tell similar stories on Sunday night, pointing out that other displaced families can't find places to stay in Boulder county.

"These are not normal times," said John O'Brien, a Lyons resident. "There are people out there who have lost everything and need a place to stay, and they could stay here, where we don’t need to. We could go home."

O'Brien said the property management group should practice social responsibility.

Instead, several of the families said their apartments will stay vacant through the end of their leases because they can't sublet.
Officials with the property management group, ConAm Management, said they had no comment Sunday night., saying their office was closed and they would have to research the issue.
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