No End in Sight
No More Slumlords received a phone call from Sara who rents an apartment near Blackstone and Olive with her two children and five-year-old granddaughter. She has been dealing with a persistent mold and rat infestation and expressed her frustrations dealing with the property owner, JD Home Rentals, in requesting assistance with these issues. With a look of exhaustion in her face, she told us that when she calls to report these issues, JD Home Rentals’ employees won’t give her their names anymore and “They even laugh at me.”
As I was leaving Sara’s apartment, one of her neighbors approached me eager to talk. Faviola, an energetic mother of three, has lived there with her husband and children for the past eight and a half years. They have also been dealing with multiple maintenance issues in their one bedroom apartment, including a severe cockroach infestation. Faviola said they have reported it to JD Home Rentals many times, but the pest services have never fixed the problem. She opened up a cupboard and pushed aside clean bowls to show us the small dead roaches that have collected in the last few days. The family washes their dishes not only after using them, but also when taking them out to use. As we walk out of the kitchen, she looked up at the ceiling and directed our attention to a cockroach clinging to the ceiling above our heads.
Faviola and her family have also been living with mold in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom of their apartment. Two of her three children have developed asthma over the last few years. This apartment is the only home her children have ever lived in. Recently the mold problem has severely worsened due to a leaking window in the bedroom where the entire family of five sleeps. The window was replaced four years ago, but the repairman failed to put in place any framing around the window. They have called JD Home Rentals many times asking for the job to be finished. She said since it didn’t rain much in previous years, it hasn’t been a major problem, but this past winter has been a different story.
The leaking has gotten so bad that a large section of the wall below the window is rotted away and dotted with spots of black mold. They leave plastic cups on the window sill to collect some of the drops. She said after one of the downpours this winter, the dampness in the carpet reached halfway across the bedroom. A musty smell was coming from the carpet when I examined the wall. There was an electric outlet immediately below the leaking window, which she says they don’t use. JD Home Rentals did eventually send a worker to the apartment who took photos and said they would be back the next day to complete the window framing. So, Faviola and her family moved the beds into the living room so the worker could do the repair. They slept in the living room that night. The next day the repairman never came. After several more pleading phone calls, another worker came to their apartment and hung a piece of clear plastic on the outside of the building above the window. We peered out the window and saw it flapping in the wind. I looked back at Faviola in disbelief that after four years, this was the best fix JD Home Rentals would do for this family.
At the time of publication, JD Home Rentals has not addressed the leaking window and rotting wall in Faviola’s apartment.
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This apartment complex is located in Council Member Oliver L. Baines’ district. Share this story with Council Member Baines.