Written by Rebecca Lindstrom
ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Jocelyn Shepherd doesn't get many visitors. It could be the smell and sight of raw sewage, filling her family's apartment. It's in the bathtub, sink, and running all over the floor.
Shepherd says shortly after she moved into the unit on Troy Street NW in Atlanta, she had problems with running water. Once the plumber fixed that, her problems with sewage began.
"My bathroom is just full of everybody's feces. The tub, filled with feces. There's mildew, white mildew coming down the wall," said Shepherd.
Shepherd lives in the apartment with her fiancé and three children, the youngest only three months old. The children have started staying with family and friends, but Shepherd has remained, believing the problem would eventually be fixed.
"I need help, I have nowhere to go, no money," she said.
Shepherd admits she stopped paying rent in November. The property manager, says soon after, she stopped trying to fix the problem. An attorney for the property owner says often tenants create such hazardous living conditions so they can stay rent free.
Code enforcement visited and cited the property owner three times last year for sewage problems, as well as roof leaks, flooding and mold. Records show the problems were fixed but now the owner faces a batch of new citations.
Investigators say they found violations for sewage, failing to provide heat and working smoke detectors in some of the units, as well as trash and electrical problems.
The owner will get a chance to explain the deficiencies in court next month.
In the meantime, Shepherd has been told she can keep the back rent and go. Shepherds says, "go where?" Her family has found a temporary place to stay, while they look for a permanent location. But when they do, they'll need a new house full of furniture. What they have now is saturated in human waste.