Apartment tenant says ownership shut off AC for unpaid rent

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In 2012 tenants were evicted and the Shannon Ridge Apartment Complex was shuttered by city officials for a number of code violations

Two years later the 112 unit apartment complex is back in business and again residents are complaining about living conditions.

Related: Angry residents return for belongings at condemned apartment complex

"It was 90 degrees at two in the morning," said Lance Jemison.

Jemison said for the past few days he has had to stay in a motel since the A/C in his unit was not working. He claims the landlord disconnected the system because he is late on his rent.

"Once you're late on the rent they cut off your air conditioning," he said.

On Thursday, Jemison was formally served an eviction notice and when we checked his A/C was working.

"When it rains sometimes it leaks from the roof in my child's bedroom," said Tiara Brooks.

Brooks said the problem has yet to be repaired even though she has reported it repeatedly.

"All that's mold," said Courtney Maple.

In Maple's apartment the toilet in her only bathroom is loose from the floor and the vanity's counter top is broken.

"It was like this when I moved," she said. "I was trying to get help and the maintenance man said they have 156 reports."

Despite several attempts to reach the property managers no one was available for comment.

Attorney Fred Elefant is an expert in Florida's Landlord Tenant Act. He said it is illegal for a landlord to disconnect a tenants utility.

"The landlord has to make sure the air conditioner is working, the heater is working," said Elefant. "You can't lock somebody out because he hasn't paid."

Elefant said it is also illegal to change the locks on the door as a way to force a tenant out. In either case he said the landlord could face stiff penalties.

"The statute even provides that the tenant who is locked out or whose air conditioning or utilities are disconnected gets a total of at least three months rent as damages," said Elefant.

The city's code enforcement division is now looking into the residents complaints about the conditions at Shannon Ridge Apartments.

Elefant said the landlord has an obligation to provide a habitable environment and he has to maintain the property; the tenant has to keep the premises in good condition and pay his rent on time.

If there is a landlord tenant complaint you can call 800-435-7352 or go HERE.


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