‘It was jarring’: New owner fixes up house months after renter sought out CBS4’s help

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- After years battling her landlords, an Indianapolis woman finally has some relief.

Shannon Smith reached out to CBS4 back in February, and the Problem Solvers team took up her case. At the time, she had gone nine months without working smoke alarms, saying her landlord had kept promising to fix them and then didn't show up to do the work.

Mt. Helix Acquisitions took over control of Smith's property and re-installed the smoke alarms after CBS4 talked with a manager. However, months later major issues had yet to be fixed. Most urgently, holes in the roof were causing flooding inside the home.

Then, about six weeks ago, Smith got an unexpected phone call from a woman named Alaina Cutler.

"The day that we closed, I called Shannon and said, 'Hey, I’m your new landlord, this is going to sound kind of weird,'" Cutler said.

Cutler owns a company called Alaina's Restorations, and she specializes in buying abandoned properties and rehabbing them. She bought a group of properties from Mt. Helix, and said they threw in the home Smith was renting as part of the package deal.

"This is the first house I’ve ever purchased that had running water, electricity, and it’s definitely the first house I’ve ever purchased that had someone living in it," Cutler said.

After seeing Smith's family, which includes her five kids and grandkids, living inside the home, Cutler said she was sure she wanted to come to an agreement to allow them to keep renting while she fixed up the property.

"It was jarring to come in and see that someone had been expected to live in this and that they were still having to pay to live here," Cutler said.

Smith said she is thrilled to have a new landlord who is making changes and allowing her large family to stay in the home.

"(I'm) extremely happy, ecstatic. ... This is better than what I actually expected," Smith said.

The roof has already been fixed and Cutler said she expected to be able to keep renting to Smith for at least two to three years.

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