TAMPA, FL - Two weeks after ABC Action News exposed the living conditions at Silver Oaks apartments in Tampa, reporter Vanessa Araiza returned to the complex to find out what changes had been made.
On Wednesday afternoon crews could be seen clearing tree limbs on the property and members with the company, All Weather Contractors were seen working to address the reported mold in the units.
They were in Vonnesha King's unit Wednesday afternoon.
"They're making it look nice and what not now but I still feel like it is going to affect us in the long run," King said.
Since ABC Action New's report on April 12, management with the complex has replaced King's dishwasher.
"They are changing vents. They are spray painting mold sprayer. They're installing new sink faucets," King said.
King said the cleaning crew used a substance that looked like a spray paint can called Mold Blocking Primer to address the reported mold issues. ABC Action News called the company to ask what the spray does but they wouldn't comment and directed us to Cambridge Management.
Cambridge responded with the following statement:
We have general maintenance, plumbing, and pest control service providers working hand in hand with our management team to resolve any and all issues brought to our attention during the inspections. Based on our inspections and input from our professional vendors, we expect to complete the necessary repairs without displacing any residents. The community has ongoing pest control contracts with specific treatment for individual households available as-needed, but to ensure that all current and potential issues are addressed, ownership and management engaged supplementary pest control service for all apartments at our community. This pest control service is scheduled to be completed in every apartment by the end of the week. Additional pest control service will be available to residents as needed. Our plumbing vendor has also begun work on a long-term solution to the plumbing concerns. We will continue to engage contractors as needed to fully resolve any remaining concerns. We encourage our residents to report any maintenance concerns to our team as soon as possible so that we can resolve them promptly. Residents can place service requests via phone, email, in person at our management office, or online through the resident portal.
"They're cleaning the AC vent but the mold is like still right there," King said.
King said she is grateful work is being done but fears it's short-lived.
"They are basically doing this to pass inspections, that's what I was told," King said.
In a recent statement to ABC Action News, a representative with the Housing and Urban Development said they plan on reinspecting the property no later than May 31.
HUD’s number one priority is the safety and well-being of those who live in HUD-assisted housing. When we identify property conditions that do not honor this commitment, HUD takes prompt and aggressive action to ensure the owner and property management immediately address substandard conditions.
When severe situations are encountered, as reported with Silver Oaks, property owners are encouraged to conduct a 100%-unit inspection under strict guidance from HUD. HUD then engages with local code enforcement in subsequent oversight of the repairs and remediation needed to ensure that it meets HUD standards and that residents enjoy housing quality that anyone should expect.
Assisting the most vulnerable requires a community effort and HUD welcomes partnerships with all stakeholders, including residents, local, state, and federal elected officials. Local and state code enforcement offices’ sustained engagement with property owners help ensure that housing is provided according to industry standards.
Residents of Silver Oaks who have experienced difficulties in obtaining adequate responses from the property management regarding maintenance concerns and other housing needs, should contact HUD contract administrator, North Tampa Housing Development Corporation (NTHDC) at 800-982-5232 or send an email to PBCAContactCenter@cgifederal.com. NTHDC tracks requests and continues to monitor progress until problems are resolved as confirmed by the residents. This contact information is provided to tenants when they move in and is posted visibly around the property.
HUD monitors the performance of all owners and agents including Cambridge Management through physical inspections, site visits, management reviews and review of monthly and/or annual financial reports. Whenever we learn of substandard conditions, we take action to ensure property owner representatives address deficiencies immediately, as is the case with Silver Oaks and Columbus Court. Both properties are in the queue for reinspection; Silver Oaks to occur not later than May 31, 2022 and Columbus Court within the next 60 days. During the past few months, our team has been in weekly contact with representatives from Cambridge Management, as well as monitoring the corrective actions that are required to improve the conditions for residents at Jackson Heights.
Also, we are aware of Silver Oaks residents’ concerns about the unfortunate miscommunication from management, which included mixed information about a recent inspection and housekeeping issues. We reminded the management agent to abide by HUD guidance and enforce the lease agreement. When there is an issue with housekeeping, the first step is a notice to cure, appropriate time is afforded to correct the deficiencies, then another visit is scheduled. The property management acknowledged the error and informed HUD it would send another communication to clarify the situation.
As for Cambridge Management, calls and emails over the past two weeks have gone unanswered.