TAMPA, Fla. - As Mayor Bob Buckhorn continues to push his 30-day sweep of some of the city's most blighted properties, residents of one mobile home park say their living conditions have gone virtually unnoticed.
They point to dilapidated structures, rotting ceilings, walls that peel off, and exposed electrical wiring.
Silver Oaks Mobile Home is no stranger to code enforcement, with violations dating back to 1990. The current owners have managed the property for seven years.
"We have been working on take out undesirable tenants and been trying to get decent people at the property," said manager Oscar Pulido. "We are committed to improve the community and the well living of our tenants."
Pulido says they've made all necessary repairs.
After ABC Action News exposed the inside of the homes two weeks ago, however, Tampa Code Enforcement visited the 24-home park and now plans to condemn several of the homes as uninhabitable.
The same day, the tenants who spoke out accuse management of delivering notices of increased rent. They complain about threats of eviction as well.
ABC Action News returned to the property for an update Friday.
"He's saying it's OK now, but when you guys leave it's a different story. He wants to fight and argue with everybody," resident Susan Maine said.
Code enforcement officers opened cases against 15 homes, citing fire hazards and structural damage.
"They told him it had to be fixed. If not, they would shut this park down," said resident Kimberly Sue Comer.
Silver Oaks management blames problem tenants for the problems. They also blame code enforcement for ignoring their requests for help until now.
"Because you all are involved, now they want to come out and help us," explained property manager Linda Gamble. "We don't threaten nobody. We try to make everything livable for people."
According to code enforcement, the 15 homes within the park are now on their "fast track". They are developing an alternate housing plan for residents who will be displaced when some of the homes are condemned.
"Most of the time the damages have been produced by the tenant itself and other external causes like rain," Pulido said.
Officers cited both property management as well as tenants for the code violations they found.
"We get caught in the middle all the time," explained Tampa Code Enforcement Director Jake Slater. "Code enforcement always gets caught right smack in the middle."
Gamble says she meets a need in Tampa, with residents who are unable to rent anywhere else due to their financial or criminal background.
"But that's got nothing to with the problems of this trailer, and I didn't tell him that I would do anything," Maine said.
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