Hilltop Place residents did not need any more uncertainty.

About a month after foreclosure notices arrived at an apartment complex in Johnstown’s Prospect neighborhood, tenants now are finding notices of a pending sheriff’s sale on their doors.

This latest chapter in a continuing saga has left worried residents living in conditions that continue to worsen.

And meanwhile, property owner Hill Estates LP of Cocoa Beach, Fla., has failed to show up for court hearings or answer inquiries from city officials.

“It’s so unfair to us,” said Valery King, who lives in a William Penn Avenue apartment.

The 32 properties – most containing multiple apartments located primarily in Prospect – will be available for a sheriff’s sale Sept. 8 at the Cambria County Courthouse. Hill Estates LP has until that date to make good before a sale is forced.

The sheriff’s sale actually is spurred by foreclosure proceedings filed by Dublin, Ohio-based Liberty Savings Bank, which claims Hill Estates owes nearly $2.8 million on its mortgage.

Theoretically, the sale allows any bidder to make an offer on the properties. But it will more likely serve as an avenue for the bank to take control of Hilltop Place.

Hill Estates administrators have not responded to repeated inquiries from The Tribune-Democrat during the past 14 months.

Representatives from Liberty Savings Bank have declined to comment.

That leaves tenants unsure of what will happen when and if the bank takes ownership of the properties. A new developer could step in, but it is clear that Hilltop Place needs major renovations after years of deterioration.

Structural problems abound at the cheaply constructed duplexes.

In May, a Johnstown district judge imposed a $50-per-day fine for reported code violations after Hill Estates sent no one to several scheduled hearings.

Now, even the grass is left uncut.

“We’re just trying to find somebody to cut it for us,” King said. “We can’t even go into the yard. It’s ridiculous.”

Local property managers can offer little assistance.

“(The manager) tries his best, but (Hill Estates) won’t give him any money to do any maintenance,” said Joyce Simms of William Penn Avenue.

Simms has lived at her apartment for 16 years and soon may be forced to look elsewhere. She contacted a Hill Estates administrator but received no reassurances for the long term.

“He said our leases are still in effect,” Simms said.

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