TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said Friday that the living conditions at the Silver Oaks Apartments are “unacceptable.”
In a statement, Castor said the city has received multiple complaints about the conditions at the complex, prompting multiple inspections by both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Silver Oaks residents say they’ve had enough. Some were forced out of their apartments from the deplorable conditions, including Nygeria Burton.
“My son coming down with upper respiratory because of the mold,” said Burton.
Between the mold, rodents, flooding, feces and crime, residents say nothing has been done to fix these mounting issues.
Burton’s grandmother, Connie Burton, used to live at Silver Oaks and now is advocating for accountability. Connie said she knows the troubles and heartache these living conditions have had on her family’s health.
“While we continue to make these issues known to our elected officials what we’ve received is nothing more than a press statement,” said Connie.
Nikki Fried, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, and Tampa Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the unsafe conditions at the Silver Oaks Apartments.
“Management has flouted not just federal rules but also the rules of common decency and respect they are certainly being taken advantage of these renters,” Fried said Tuesday.
Residents told 8 On Your Side they have had issues with mold, vermin and other structural issues. They also said that when they spoke openly about the problems, they got a notice to clean their apartments or get evicted.
Castor said a HUD inspection will take place in the next few weeks that will examine every unit at the complex.
“The city’s goal is not to end state and federal funding for Silver Oaks,” she said. “It is to ensure that these units are repaired and brought to acceptable living conditions so that residents will continue to have an affordable place to call home.”
The mayor said she was concerned if Section 8 payments end at Silver Oaks, the residents would end up losing their homes.
In June, Sen. Marco Rubio called on HUD to inspect properties managed by Cambridge Management across Florida, including Silver Oaks. Rubio stated that despite allegations of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, HUD provided seven properties owned by Cambridge Management – more than 17 million dollars in federal financial aid.
A month later, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott introduced the HUD Inspection Reform and Capital Improvement Act. This requires “HUD health and sanitation inspections take place according to a reasonable federal timeline that HUD take enforcement action on failing properties to protect tenants, and to increase the Department’s authority to hold agency staff accountable for misconduct.”
News Channel 8 has reached out to Sen. Rubio’s office to learn more.
“I don’t have another option. I’m not here cause I want to be I’m here cause I have to be,” resident Vonnesha King told 8 On Your Side Tuesday.