HAMPTON -- Plastic covers part of the ceiling in Rae Kerrigan's apartment on Fort Monroe. It is a similar scene in her bedroom.
Kerrigan's home is one of many in Wherry apartments considered damaged after Hurricane Irene. But she's one of the lucky ones because she can stay there for now.
That is not the case for many others. Residents who received red notices from the Fort Monroe Authority have to leave within 30 days. A green notice means you can stay, for now.
Kerrigan says she was under the impression the apartments would be maintained when she signed her lease back in March.
Kerrigan says she was told 'these are going to be around. We're upkeeping them. We're doing a lot of maintenance work. You don't need to worry about it.'
She and many of her neighbors believe the Authority is using Irene as an excuse to move out residents to make way for new development, now that the post is officially closed and now belongs to the state.
She worries the next big rain might be enough to push out the rest of the residents.
The authority is offering other housing to the residents, but it will cost more than the $600 rent that Travis Tolson says he's paying now.
The FMA website shows housing starting at $1,375 a month.
"We just moved in here. We broke our lease at our old place, paid a penalty to break it because we knew we would be saving a little bit of money here, " says Tolson, whose lease ends in July 2012.
He wants the FMA to honor their current leases at current rates.
Wherry resident Stacy Jensen is looking for another place to live. She feels like residents are being bullied into taking high price apartments. She says the FMA shouldn't be able to obtain residents' basic allowance for housing, or BAH, because the housing is no longer military.
"They're bullying us into choosing there and taking every penny of our BAH or move elsewhere, or take our chances here," says Jensen.
The FMA says it's trying to keep the residents safe because the housing is too damaged by the hurricane. The authority says it isn't a ploy to kick people out.
FMA executive director Glen Oder says a little bit less than a third of the units have moisture damage.
"For their own safety, we're going to be terminating their leases, according to state law, after 30 days," says Oder.
So far, 33 residents have been told to they have to leave within 30 days.
Oder says the residents haven't been left high and dry because the FMA is willing to return their security deposits and, in some cases, a free month's rent and short-term leases.
Meanwhile, Kerrigan says the FMA needs to give reassurance because residents are afraid they'll get kicked out any day now.
"People are scared that one day they'll be green and the next day, they'll be red and living in fear that I might lose my house tomorrow," Kerrigan states.
13News Troubleshooters posted several questions to the Fort Monroe Authority's Director of Marketing Phyllis Terrell.
13News Troubleshooters: Can Wherry residents who choose to move into more expensive units continue to pay their current rental rates for the duration of their current leases? Would you be willing to strike a deal in which the FMA could honor the current rents for a specific period of time, such as two or three months?
FMA: We can't say that we can charge the same rate. We will work with them. They need to come and talk to us. Each situation is different. We want to honor everyone's lease. We are making a number of options available to them. We are offering to give them back their security deposits and they don't have to pay a security deposit if they move to another unit. Also, At this time, it looks like we will be able to move a resident into another Wherry Apartment unit that has been determined to be safe and habitable.
13News Troubleshooters: If Fort Monroe is now turned over to the state, can you hold renters to military rules? For instance, residents tell us if a service member is of a higher rank, he must stay in the more expensive units. Can a captain rent next to an enlisted member?
FMA: We are unaware of those guidelines. Wherry Apartments are still owned by the Army. The FMA is just the leasing agent.
13News Troubleshooters: For the residents who are not being told to leave right now, is there any chance their apartments will be fixed?
FMA: Yes. We're getting bids now for these repairs to take place.