Tenants are describing the conditions at a low-income housing building in San Bernardino as “filthy.”
The city is now taking action against the owner’s but the owners say it’s not their fault. Hundreds of people are now bring forced to find a new home.
Jeffrey Young is the property resident manager of what used to be the dormitory for the now closed American Sports University in San Bernardino.
He says about three years ago it was filled with international students and the building was spotless.
“The COVID-19 hit, so they all went back to their countries,” Young said.
Young says the owners of the property turned the rooms into low-income housing charging tenants about $600 a month.
“Individuals who were coming out of hotels sleeping in their cars and parks,” Young said.
Since then some tenants say the building has turned into a slum.
“With the roaches and mold everything has been getting worse to worse here,” said Lisa Torres Mandivil a tenant.
Young blames the deplorable conditions on some of the tenants who he claims have been destroying the property. He estimates about 60% are refusing to pay rent.
“At one time someone broke the fire sprinklers that damaged all the floors in the building,” Young said.
Months ago city officials say they got word of the conditions and started pressuring the owners, Fox Property Holdings, to make the necessary repairs.
“The fire sprinklers are not working, the fire alarms are not working, and some of the emergency exits were bolted shut,” Young said.
City Public Information Officer Jeffrey Kraus also says the building isn’t permitted for apartment usage.
“These rooms don’t have kitchens, they don’t have working bathrooms, some don’t even have electricity and they are running extension cords from one unit to another in order to power,” Kraus said.
Last week, a judge ordered the owners to pay for the relocation of the tenants so they can vacate the property.
The city is also helping tenants find new housing and Kraus says they are pursuing legal ramifications against Fox Property Holdings.
A spokesperson for the company didn’t want to talk on camera.
Over the phone he claimed the company does have a permit and he also wants the tenants out so the building can be renovated.
One woman names Jessica showed NBC4 her room and says she has been a good tenant. She is now worried about finding affordable housing on her very limited income.
“It hurts, it hurts very bad, it’s very hard,” Jessica said. “I got to work everyday to make sure I can take care of myself. I support myself, I don’t really have nobody to lean on so it puts me in a very very hard place.”
Tenants are hoping to get more answers about their future Wednesday at 4 p.m. during a community meeting at New Beginnings United Methodist Church.
Source: NBC Los Angeles