Renters say Miami apartment buildings infested with rodents, water damage

(WSVN) - Some South Florida renters are dealing with uninvited guests this holiday season. And that’s only part of the problem in their apartment buildings. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.

From the outside, these two Liberty City apartment buildings look OK. But inside, some of the apartments are falling apart.

Bathrooms are not usable.

Veronica Barrard, resident: “It has been like this for five months.”

There’s water damage in the bedrooms.

Veronica Barrard: “The walls have water leaking in.”

Many of the apartments have holes in the walls.

Veronica Barrard: “Yes, another hole.”

In one unit, the walls are so weak that they crumble when you lean on them.

But renters say there’s one problem that’s the absolute worst: the rodents.

Veronica Barrard: “It’s very, very bad. The infestation of the rats. I don’t know where they came from.”

They chew through the drywall and aren’t done when they get inside.

Veronica Barrard: “I left the remote out, came home, and the rats bit all the numbers off the remote.”

Brian Entin: “You’ve got no more numbers here?”

Veronica Barrard: “No.”

Brian Entin: “This is from the rats.”

Veronica Barrard: “From the rats.”

This woman says the rodents even chewed the case on her daughter’s iPad.

Veronica Barrard: “Yep, the rats.”

Elissa Noble, resident: “I have a cat here because the rats were maybe like this big.”

Residents say they have complained to their property manager and to the city.

We were there when a Miami building inspector showed up to look around.

Ahmed Arafet, City of Miami building inspector: “We have to follow up on all of the complaints we have received.”

7News learned the buildings sold six months ago for almost $1.2 million.

Pedro Penate, property manager: “It was pretty much run down when we got here.”

The property manager for the new owner says they’re pulling permits — and they have already spent $125,000 on repairs.

Pedro Penate: “It’s a process. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

The property manager says the main issue here has been the roof. They’re in the process of repairing it, and once that’s finished, they will be able to do more work on the inside of the apartments.

Pedro Penate: “Most of the time we buy buildings in this area or Little Havana that are run down. We take advantage, we invest a lot of money in them, turn them around.”

The property manager sent us pictures of the roof work, but the work isn’t happening fast enough for some.

Roswitha: “I’m a sick woman, and I just can’t afford to move anywhere else.”

Roswitha, who has breast cancer, lives in one of the apartments.

Roswitha: “I need help to get out of this place because it is really making me sicker.”

Even the mailboxes don’t work.

The property manager says they have offered to relocate one resident while repairs are made, but some are tired of waiting — and moving out on their own.

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