Rats, cockroaches, mold and hazards found in complex inspections of Eastside
JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Rats, cockroaches, mold and fire hazard: These issues were the basis of complaints from residents living in two government-subsidized apartment complexes on Jacksonville’s Eastside.
New reports from city inspectors found these issues and more after a lightning strike by regulators earlier this week.
Inspectors from the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, and the US Department of Housing & Urban Development visited the complexes on Tuesday for a surprise investigation.
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News4Jax I-TEAM began reporting on the complaints from local residents in April, prompting U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and his team to call for immediate action. A HUD inspection failed on both properties, with Eastside Terrace being rated 6 out of 100 and Eastside Gardens being rated 24 out of 100 points.
When News4Jax visited the property again on Friday, there was a lot of activity.
The JFRD fire marshal was back when a private contractor was working on fire alarms and sprinkler systems in one of the buildings. An inspector from the Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation examined the lodging license.
A commercial pest controller went door-to-door with the manager of the complex, spraying for vermin and setting rodent traps.
“Little did I know, I’ve lived in Jacksonville all my life, I’ve been walking up and down the streets for the past six years,” said Councilor Reggie Gaffney, who represents District 7, which includes both complexes.
Gaffney met News4Jax on site and said he had no idea how bad the conditions were in the units, where residents had been complaining about cockroaches, rats and mold for months.
“My goal is to raise awareness among my colleagues in town and see what resources we have to improve their lives,” Gaffney told the I-TEAM.
The I-TEAM requested inspection reports from the city and saw regulatory violations for every unit it investigated: from rodent infestations to mold and mildew to piping and electrical issues.
The city has sent dozens of warnings to the owner, Andrew Podray of Palm Beach, demanding that he fix the issues.
The JFRD fire marshal documented potentially life-threatening findings such as a broken wall of fire, no carbon monoxide detectors, improper installation of equipment, storage of combustible waste, and a malfunctioning fire alarm and sprinkler system.
The full report is expected to be released next week.
The building inspectors did not find any major structural problems.
Since News4Jax was on the property with Gaffney, the common area had dirty A / C filters on the floor and a sticky trap with a dead mouse, cockroaches, and ants stuck to it.
“It shouldn’t be out here where kids go out of their house and see it,” Gaffney said. “I don’t know if that happened 10 minutes ago or two days ago, but it shouldn’t be here. When you close it, where do they (the tenants) go? And we as managers have to think about that. “
Podray, the owner of the property, faces federal fines of $ 600,000 for two failed HUD inspections.
He told News4Jax Tuesday that he was trying to fix the properties but was not making enough money to bring the properties up to date.
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