JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Many residents returned Wednesday to the Shannon Ridge Apartments on Shenandoah Avenue off Edgewood, angry they had such short notice to evacuate and angry the complex didn't do more to keep the place up.
William McDonald and Mary Gaines lived in an apartment for about seven years. They have lived here without air conditioning for five months. A work order was never completed and they have mold all over the apartment.
They are among 36 families forced out when the city condemned the apartments due to numerous code violations on Tuesday, including exposed wire and water leaks.
"I am shocked, I never saw this coming," said McDonald. "A lot of tenants said they paid their rent, I am one of the people who did not pay their rent, I was about to and I thank God I did not do it."
They had a leaky roof at one time and the complex repaired the leaks with caulk.
"If you take the caulking down here, you can see totally outside. There is mold all over our bedroom."
Residents arriving to pick up their belongings were greeted with this notice -- that they would be fined $500 if they entered their apartment. They would have to go downtown to code enforcement to get a pass to access their belongings.
City officials were asked why they did not have a representative at the complex and they said code enforcement had to have their computers and equipment downtown to look up property owners and make copies. McDonald and others thought it was an added hardship to have to go downtown to get an access pass "Get back in and get what I can get in 48 hours, which is crazy."
Eight of the 12 residential buildings at the complex were condemned. Some people remain living there in units that did not have code violations.
"If I would have known, I would never have moved out here," said Ciera Williams. She has a newborn baby. Williams was really upset, having to rent a truck, rent a storage unit and lose a day of work.
"I had to take off, so that is money I am losing, calling in for work for this foolishness. It is really upsetting."
Brenda Odoms King stayed the night with her son's girlfriend. Her husband David is staying with his mom, and they have no place to go.
"My husband was working for the complex. He wasn't working for pay, working for a place to live. Now we don't have a place to live, I think it is unfair. This complex did nothing for people, moved people in for $99 then move you out. Truly unfair we have to go through this. My daughter also lives here and she had to be out."
Mary Gaines says all this is a hassle, but in a way she's glad to be out and won't be coming back even if repairs are made.
"Not even if they give me free rent, no."
The owner of the complex is Jorkin Jax LLC .Workers at the office opened the door quickly, told us to leave and then slammed the door. No word on why they did not repair the problems before the city stepped in to shut it down, and no word on if they plan to correct the violations and reopen the complex.
The city is offering the displaced residents up to $1,250 in rent, deposit and utility assistance.
First Coast News