Come Tuesday, Terry Darby, Kelly Doyle, and Ryan Schofield expect to be ordered out of the Norristown condominiums on which they are still making payments.

The three have not wasted time waiting for the official notice.

Well ahead of a Tuesday hearing before a Montgomery County judge, they and other residents of the much-maligned condo complex have been scrambling for temporary space on friends' couches and spare rooms in relatives' homes.

"The only choices of places to go are temporary, and you hope you can get one nearby," Doyle said. "We all have to keep our jobs, especially if we're all having to pay on mortgages for a place we can't live in."

Officials said Judge Stanley R. Ott is likely to allow Norristown officials to move ahead with condemnation and evacuation orders on the building, which a township inspector approved for occupancy despite flaws that engineers now consider too dangerous to live with.

An evacuation order was issued May 4, after inspectors chronicled wooden fire stairs, exposed wiring, holes in walls, and other signs of disrepair that have persisted since the building opened three years ago on a hillside above the Schuylkill.

Ott temporarily halted the evacuation order at the request of the bank that financed the construction. But the bank has told Norristown officials it plans to drop its objection at the hearing, Municipal Administrator David Forrest said.

As a result, Forrest said, the hearing is likely to reinstate Norristown's order giving residents 72 hours to move out.

On Monday night, Forrest and other Norristown officials are to meet with the eight remaining owners of condos in the beleaguered 26-unit building to discuss logistics of the expected move-out order, including security and when residents can enter to pick up belongings. The building is also home to a number of renters.

It is unclear to all what will happen to the building after that.

"The best-case scenario," Forrest said, "is that a responsible party, perhaps St. Edmond's Bank, takes steps to remediate all the violations."

Jeffrey W. Soderberg, lawyer for St. Edmond's Federal Savings Bank, did not return a call. The condo developer, Bruce Fazio, could not be reached for comment, either.

Meanwhile, the residents have had to keep up payments on their mortgages - and property taxes - for living spaces that are now of dubious worth.

"You hear about people over-borrowing and just going underwater on their mortgages, but these people did all the right things," said Schofield, 33, who is fleeing his condo to move into his parents' Warminster home and sometimes crash on a friend's couch nearer his Malvern finance job. "We've just been put in a disastrous situation."

On Friday afternoon, Doyle paused from loading his furniture onto a truck bound for an aunt's house in Phoenixville to commiserate with Schofield over the housing investment gone sour. Each shrugged at the possibilities.

"We're all just struggling to get all of our stuff out and find out if we're going to be allowed back in ever," said Doyle, a clinical researcher.

Despite the problems in the building's public areas - from the exposed pipe and wires out front for a never-installed fountain to the bare concrete and wood in unfinished stairwells - the polished floorboards and bright-painted walls of its living spaces still give off the gleam of new homes.

Darby, a nurse, did her packing on Thursday. She choked up as she bundled her things for a move to the spare bedroom of her daughter's house in northern Chester County. The change will more than double the commuting time to her job in Philadelphia at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

"If I knew we could come back," said Darby, a grandmother, "this wouldn't even matter."

Contact staff writer Derrick Nunnally at 610-313-8212 or