TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A couple steps inside Dylan Mellish’s apartment and it’s obvious — it’s gross.
“I didn’t expect it to be as nice as the mock-up unit,” Mellish said. “But when you go to look at it, there’s mold, there’s a whole bunch of stuff.”
8 On Your Side saw that mold in Mellish’s bathroom at The Ivy apartment complex in Tampa near the University of South Tampa. That wasn’t the only ick factor either — our cameras also caught both live and dead cockroaches, a roof cracking at the seams and steps that looked liable to break at any time.
Even before entering, Mellish’s apartment has a window covered in a garbage bag and duct tape. The window broke about six months ago, and after maintenance put plywood over it, Hurricane Ian ripped that off. It hasn’t been fixed since.
Mellish sent in maintenance request after maintenance request, but only a couple were handled.
“After a while, I kind of just lost hope,” Mellish said. “Just stopped sending things in off that.”
8 On Your Side has been covering issues at The Ivy since last August when USF students moving in found disgusting conditions.
But the most recent problem sent him over the edge — flooding.
“All of the sudden,” recalled Andrea McMillon. “It was literally a waterfall coming right over.”
McMillon lives a couple of floors below Mellish.
“I went to bed that night and all of the sudden I heard this loud bang,” McMillon said. “It sounded like a bowling ball, but I guess it was a pipe rolling across the floor. The pipe finally burst that had been leaking all day.”
McMillon says The Ivy’s fixes are more like Band-Aids.
But she can’t leave.
“I can’t afford to,” McMillon explained. “I can’t afford to live anywhere else. I lived in a tent for three months before I came here.”
The two neighbors agreed — they feel stuck.
“They know that we’re all at the bottom of the barrel here,” said McMillon. “We’re just grateful to have a roof over our heads.”
In a statement to 8 On Your Side, The Ivy’s corporate owner, Campus Life & Style, said:
The Ivy’s management team is aware and has addressed and will continue to respond to all submitted maintenance requests. We are committed to completing all maintenance requests as quickly and professionally as possible and are working to address any outstanding items as soon as possible.Matt Letendre, Regional Vice President, Campus Life & Style
But Mellish says 8 On Your Side’s reporting does more.
“You’re actually helping us more than the management has been helping us,” Mellish said.