Report: 1 condemned apartment, 6 failed inspections at Miami Hills

SOUTH BEND, Ind. —- More people living at the Miami Hills Apartment Complex on High Street are speaking up about ‘nightmare-like’ living conditions. 

On Monday, tenants spoke with ABC 57 News about the growing black mold, mushrooms in the walls, and other health issues they are facing. ABC 57 News caught up with Miami Hills tenant Jennifer Jenner who said her former apartment had mushrooms growing in the bathroom. 

On Tuesday, she said management moved her and her family into a new apartment. 

“I was informed they’ve been working on this one for two weeks,” said Jenner. 

Inside the apartment, Jenner showed that it had running water, new appliances, cabinets, and carpet. She said the new apartment is a huge improvement from her last apartment. 

But this step does not end the problem for Miami Hills.   On Monday, South Bend Common Councilman Jake   Teshka, who represents the fifth district, wrote the following letter to the owner, The Lure of the Animal LLC. 

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ABC 57 News left The Lure of the Animal LLC. a voicemail on Tuesday. 

Teshka copied the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Code Enforcement and the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the letter. Teshka said the majority of the units in the complex are Section 8 Housing, meaning the property owner does receive federal money to house low-income families. 

“I did receive a call today from HUD,” Teshka said. “They will be stepping in at this point.”

Teshka said the apartment complex has been on his radar before he took office. He said both himself and the City have reached out to the property owners based in California, but so far, have been met with radio silence.

According to Code Enforcement, the department has opened 12 different cases since January 2018 for housing violations. The property owner has racked up a total of $1,000 in fines. 

Since jumpstarting the rental safety verification program in February, Code Enforcement has completed six inspections at the complex. According to Code, all of them failed and one apartment had to be condemned. 

The department director, Tracy Skibins, wrote the following statement: 

“We continue to work with the owner to ensure that each rental is in decent, safe, and sanitary condition to support a healthy living environment. We always contact the owner of record, who resides in California.  The property manager is who we work with locally.”

The problem was first posted on a Facebook page called ‘Fix it Forward,’ which has now been shared more than a hundred times. The community plans to protest the apartment complex’s poor conditions at Ridgedale and Hight Street on Friday at 1 p.m. 

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