- Faith & Family
Frustration and anger is running high at 1255 NW 58th Street, twin three-story apartment buildings in Liberty City. Tenants are angry at the deplorable condition of their apartments and frustrated over their requests for repairs repeatedly ignored by the buildings’ owner.
The final straw came when Miami-Dade Water and Sewer shut off the water to all 36 apartments.
That was over one month ago but there is still no water — a sign that the owner is not concerned about the wellbeing of the tenants. But there’s more. Tenants say the ceilings have caved-in due to leaking roofs and there are rats, roaches and the strong odor of mold and mildew.
For Michael Sumler, 54, and his wife, Joyce, tenants since 1995, say the scary part is the “wild cats,” — homeless people and drug addicts who take over empty apartments.
“If they are not going to rent out the empty apartments, then board them up,” said Michael, adding that he’s been unable to get anyone to respond to his demands for repairs. Then there’s Tiffany Gainous, a mother of four, who has a large hole in her ceiling; and Anita Gause, a tenant for 12 years who lives with her 63-year-old mother, Mable Andrews, that only has two working burners on her stove, kitchen cabinets that need replacing and no screens on her windows.
Tenant after tenant will show you how they dutifully they have made their rent deposits. Then with no repairs and conditions steadily deteriorating, one-by-one, each tenant stopped paying, hoping to force some changes. County property records show the building is listed as owned by Global Approach, Inc., a company shown in county records as owning over 65 properties in Miami-Dade County whose primary address is 9559 Collins Avenue. Property records also show that Global Approach owes Miami-Dade County nearly $95,000 in unpaid property taxes dating back to 2007 for the Liberty City property alone. Tenants fear they may soon be without a home.
Miami Code Enforcement Inspector Anishka Anderson says a call has been placed to the city’s Building and Zoning Department to send someone out to investigate. Building and Zoning, is the department with the authority to deem the buildings unsafe and have the remaining tenants removed.
Audrey Jackson, a 15-year-resident, has already rented a truck to start moving. But for 63-year-old Margaret Brown, still recovering from a stroke and wheelchair-bound, there are few options.
“I have no place to go,” she said. “I can’t go nowhere. I can’t even get a glass of water.”
As we went to press, we learned that the City has worked with the property owner and been able to get the water turned back on for the tenants. No word, however, about the other conditions
By Gregory W. Wright