The problem-plagued, financially burdened Atrium condominium, which has seen more than its share of snafus, goes back on the sales market today, but not without a new set of troubles and complaints from would-be owners.

Over the past two years, apartment owners and prospective buyers of units at the stylish Rosslyn high-rise have been beset with bankruptcy proceedings, days without heat, suspicious fires, delays in moving in and even a leaky lobby waterfall.

But the building's new owners, who took possession of it after it lapsed into bankruptcy earlier this year, promise that the Atrium's woes are in the past and that promised amenities at the 341-unit project will be completed by the end of the year. Moreover, they hope the 200 or more units that go on the block today will return a tidy profit for the recent hassles they have endured.

Despite the confidence of the building's owners, the reopening leaves a future that is uncertain as ever for the individual unit owners, and particularly for the estimated 40 trying to conclude agreements that would permit them to own the apartments for which they have contracts.

Some owners and buyers said the building's owners have yet to deal with numerous headaches at the project -- a long list of complaints from unit owners and contract purchasers who claim that putting the remaining units back on the block before their concerns have been addressed is, at best, untimely.

Still, many unit owners were hesitant to speak about the Atrium for fear that exposing any of the building's problems could damage their investments. On Tuesday night, a group of unit owners and prospective buyers adopted a policy of not speaking with The Washington Post about the Atrium's reopening. Several would-be buyers and unit owners, however, ignored the mandate.

Last May, the Atrium, at 1530 N. Key Blvd., was sold at a foreclosure auction for $24 million to a group of 12 lending institutions from around the country that originally financed the project. That sale followed nearly a year of financial headaches for unit buyers after the project's Middle Eastern developers went bankrupt.

But the foreclosure sale left a cloudy future for nearly 80 would-be buyers, all of whom signed contracts and left deposits with Knightsbridge Development Co. of McLean, the building's bankrupt developers, whose major investor is a Kuwaiti businessman, Mishary Al-Khahid.

Many of those contract purchasers sold their homes in anticipation of moving into the Atrium, and about 20 were permitted to do so under a presettlement agreement with Knightsbridge to move into their units before actually closing on their deals. Of the original 80 interested buyers, about 40 individuals are still negotiating with the building's owners in an attempt to buy their units.

To make matters worse, it was discovered during bankruptcy proceedings that more than $900,000 in deposits from the prospective unit owners is missing -- meaning that the beleaguered buyers will lose their deposits should the building's new owners not honor the sales contracts.

The deposit money still has not been located. Last month, the Virginia Department of Commerce turned the matter over to the Arlington County Police Department, which is conducting a preliminary investigation into the missing funds, according to Sgt. John Blake of the county's white-collar crime unit.

Earlier this week, a cease and desist order against selling units at the Atrium was lifted by the Virginia Real Estate Commission. The order was issued last November after the state learned about the missing deposit money. Following the lifting of the order, the Atrium's new owners then filed the required documents with the state that would allow them to start selling units today.

The Atrium's new owners have maintained throughout the past several months that they are under no legal obligation to honor the Knightsbridge sales contracts, but are negotiating in good faith with the interested contract purchasers.

Robert Rausch, a Fairfax attorney representing Savers Federal of Little Rock, Ark., the lead lender of the group that took over the Atrium earlier this summer, said that "a significant number" of the outstanding contracts will be signed, possibly today, thereby allowing the would-be buyers to take possession of their units. He also said many of the contract purchasers who were allowed to move into the Atrium before settling on their deals have enjoyed free rent for more than a year.

"It's been a free ride for some of them," Rausch said. "There are a whole series of hardship cases rising out of the Knightsbridge bankruptcy, and the lenders are one."

Not all of the would-be buyers have been satisfied with the new owner's negotiating tactics. Joszet Hudson-Ziegler, who made $41,000 in deposits for her three-bedroom Atrium unit, said she has been asked to sign "vague and unclear" sales documents by the building's new owners. She said if she does not sign soon, she has been told to vacate her unit, forcing her to forfeit the deposit money she left with Knightsbridge.

Hudson-Ziegler said she is hesitant to sign the contract because the lending group has told her it will honor only $11,500 of her $41,000 deposit.

"I've been living in a state of limbo," said Hudson-Ziegler, a fashion model. "I realize that everyone wants the best possible deal ... but {the new owners} are definitely going to profit from this.

"I've lived for most of the past year with packed boxes," Hudson-Ziegler said. After the new owners took over, she said, she unpacked those boxes because she felt her situation would be resolved. "Now I don't know if I should pack again. It's been horrible."

William Faulkner, a State Department foreign service officer, signed a contract for a one-bedroom Atrium unit in October 1985. Although he was allowed to move into his apartment last August, he is still waiting to close on the deal.

"I'm getting tired of living like a nomad," said Faulkner, who added that the new owners want to increase his unit's original sales contract by $5,000. In addition, because he has been living in the unit for more than one year, the new owners will not give him a sales warranty on his apartment should a deal be struck.

Other unit owners and would-be buyers complained that various amenities, such as the Atrium's swimming pool, tennis courts and health club, have yet to open. They also said lobby furniture is lacking, paint is peeling and various cleaning and security problems have arisen over the past year.

In addition, unit owners said they are confused about what their responsibility will be in paying off more than $6 million in liens that were placed against the Atrium by the building's construction firm and two subcontractors.

"There are a lot of issues remaining," said Van Sinclair, a Vienna attorney who represents a group of the Atrium's owners and buyers. "Time is going by, and there are a lot of people still living in a state of uncertainty. The goodwill generated by assurances {from the Atrium's new owners} is in danger of eroding away."