After 10 units were condemned at Colonial Forest Apartments on Jacksonville’s Westside, some residents are scrambling to find a new place to live and are saying the city’s help is not enough.
Displaced tenants have two options: they can move into a different unit on the property, or they can take $1,700 from the city to find a new place to live.
“We were totally surprised. We didn’t know what was going on,” resident Linda Carpenter said.
Carpenter’s apartment was one of the 10 apartments condemned by the city. She decided to move with her son and her sister to a new unit at Colonial Forest Apartments.
“This unit here we were offered as-is. Half off next month’s rent if we do the cleanup ourselves,” Carpenter said.
The News4JAX I-TEAM toured Carpenter’s new apartment Wednesday and noticed what looks like black mold growing in a closet, broken windows, and parts of the ceiling that are hanging down.
“This is ridiculous. This place is actually in worse condition than the one we’re living in right now,” resident Miles Carpenter said.
While the city is offering displaced residents $1,700 to find a new place to live, Linda and Miles said it’s not enough to cover a move-out of their three-bedroom apartment.
Danielle Quigley’s apartment was also condemned. The News4JAX I-TEAM talked to her on Monday after she nearly fell from her second-story patio when the floor caved in.
“Right now, I’m currently packing up my apartment and all day we’ve been looking for new places to go,” Quigley said.
Quigley said she’s happy to move her and her kids to a safer place, but she still has some concerns.
“The $1,700 is for any deposits that you have to put down. Anything over that will have to come out of our pockets which I feel is not fair because it’s not our fault the living conditions are what they are,” Quigley said.
Residents said they don’t blame management in the front office for the problems, but the private owner of the complex.
News4JAX has tried to get a response from the owners multiple times. But the calls and messages to the Freidman Real Estate Group in Michigan are not returned.
Some residents living in the same building as those that were condemned are now concerned their units are not far behind.
“I guess I’ll probably be next. I mean if it’s condemned upstairs. I hope nothing’s going to fall through on me,” resident Naomi Stancle said.
The city is encouraging residents to call 904-630-CITY with their complaints. If you think your unit might be in violation of code, you can call that number and request an inspection.