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House of Horrors code enforcement hearing, neighbors speak out

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --  Earlier in February, ABC57 New took you inside the Washington-Colfax Apartments to show you how residents were living with bugs, and a lack of heat or hot water. 

Thursday, there was a code enforcement meeting held in the County-City Building. 

For more than an hour and a half, residents and neighbors shared their thoughts and feelings about the state of the building.

Code Enforcement ruled that by November 30, 2018, the building must have had serious repairs and reviews, before facing civil penalties. 

But that's not all that happened.

"I don't know if you can call it unfit for human habitation, but we need to take some strong action," says one unnamed neighbor, who lives near the complex. 

"It has been an issue and needs to be addressed," adds another concerned South Bend resident. 

The owner of South Bend Investments, who owns the complex, failed to show up to the hearing.

Instead, two maintenance men and the property manager, Virginia Duncan, were there to represent him.

ABC57 News asked them why the owner didn't show up.

Duncan replied, "He's a busy man."

A code enforcement officer said the building is unsafe for people to be living there, due to extreme water damage and possible structural issues.

ABC57 News asked Duncan's opinion about the hearing.

She didn't seem to think it was a big deal.

"Most of those people are getting evicted and they're just being upset with us too," says Duncan. 

When ABC57 News asked if that meant she didn't think it was about the building, she said simply, "no."

One of the maintenance men, didn't seem to know what ABC57 News was talking about, when reiterating what was seen inside the building on Feb. 1. 

"Do you agree with [Duncan] that it's just the residents being difficult?" asked ABC57.

"In some ways, yes," he said. 

ABC57 News asked about the cockroaches and bug infestation.

His response? "I haven't seen any."

He believes there's just some water damage. 

Code enforcement issued a vacate and seal order. 

So far, there's about $2,500 worth of fines.

However, if the building doesn't get serious repairs, or an engineer to check out the structure, South Bend Investments could face thousands of dollars in civil penalties. 


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