CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Several Coral Springs families opened up about their housing headaches a day after they were forced to leave their homes due to damage from storms that swept through parts of Florida.
Speaking with 7News on Sunday, residents at a six-plex off Northwest 39th Court said they had to vacate the premises immediately.
“They told us we had to leave today, that they were shutting off the lights,” said resident Julian Gonzalez.
The sudden notice came after the roof of the building failed during the weekend’s rainfall.
“We’re so lost and stressed out and depressed right now,” said Gonzalez.
Hours later, they said, the city informed them that the building was unsafe and they had to evacuate.
“I have water in my unit, and I’m on the fourth floor,” said a resident who identified herself as Rachel. “There’s mold by the electrical outlets, so this is not something that just happened on Saturday.”
“Now, I have my mom in a hotel room with my son, and I’m going to do that until I run out of cash,” said Gonzalez.
Cellphone video captured water trickling in from a large crack in the ceiling of one unit.
Residents showed 7News the damage in their units. They said they tried to tell their landlord about the roof months before the storms.
“Our enclosed stairwells, you need an umbrella just to go down the stairs when it’s raining,” said Rachel, “because it’s like the water is pouring down, so they’re trying to blame it on the storm and, like, the weather. They just never maintain this building.”
“We asked them to tarp the roof, we asked them to do something,” said a resident who identified herself as Noelle.
“It’s not only the roof that’s wrong. I mean, they’ve got the mailbox. They’re returning all of our mail because they don’t want to fix our mailbox,” said Tyler Stewart.
Residents at the Sherwood apartment complex off Riverside Drive expressed similar frustrations after they were ordered out.
“What should we do to move forward?” said Stewart. “Should I be looking to get a new place? Are they going to fix this? Are we going to get reimbursed? I want some answers. They told us yesterday that the roof will be fixed in 48 hours, and so they have about 36 hours, but nobody is here, I don’t see any type of progress being made.”
Many units have cracks within the walls, and some even have parts of their ceiling falling apart and caving in.
“My apartment itself, when it rains, we only have a little leak,” said Stewart. “My friend on the end, his bathroom is horrible. Every time it rains, it floods in their house and have to put a bucket down to catch it.”
Stewart has nowhere else to go and has been sleeping in his car.
“Just paid the rent, literally just charged us for the rent, and we can’t even stay here,” said Stewart. “I really have no idea what to do.”
Management of the apartment complex told 7News that repairs should be made within a few days.
“The building is not condemned. The building is shut down temporarily and again, we’re not going to commit to any timeline. We believe with days, apartments are going to be opened up. The building will definitely be reopened, our main goal is to get our residents back into their apartments as soon as possible,” said Lewis Moscovitch.
According to the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department, water leaked into the main electrical panel supplying power to the building.
In regards to rent and if tenets will get reimbursed, Moscovitch said the following:
“The Florida statues and as per our lease, no money will be refunded at the moment,” he said. “The abatement of rent means that they’re not being charged for rent, as they’re not allowed in their apartments, and they will be credited with those days for future rent.”
Residents believe it will take much longer.
“If they are horrible at maintaining stuff, I mean, hopefully this puts some pressure on them to actually care about their residents and care about how we live and how they treat us,” said Stewart.
Johanna Fuentes, a resident, said that the rain was the straw that broke the camel’s back and that the building has been deteriorating for quite some time.
City officials and the American Red Cross has made temporary housing available for residents at the Senior Center at Sartory Hall starting Sunday afternoon.
Now, dozens of families are racing to pick up the pieces and find somewhere new to call home.
“This is not what anybody wants. We’re doing the best we can,” said Noelle.
The timeline for repairs at both structures remains unclear, so residents don’t know when they’ll be able to move back into their homes.
Residents of the complex said management would have a roofing crew making repairs on Monday, although many said they had waited all day and have not seen a single repair crew member.
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