Tenants demand action on neglected maintenance problems

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — Michelle Taylor strolled through her apartment at The Overlook at Homewood, where she has lived since January, pointing out everything wrong with it.

On Taylor’s list: mold in the bathroom, a leaking and broken air conditioning unit, and a strange, greenish-brown dust that falls from her kitchen cabinets.

“I’m not sure what this is,” Taylor said. “I clean it and it comes back.”

Taylor said that Overlook management promised to renovate and repair her apartment before she moved in.

She is not the only tenant at The Overlook with complaints.

Toni Nettles has lived there for two years, and said she’s had the same leak in her ceiling the entire time, which has forced her to leave her second bedroom nearly empty; it’s furnished with a lone bucket, to catch the water.

“They might send someone over to cut that section out of the ceiling and then patch it up, but they don’t fix the leak,” Nettles said.

Both Nettles and Taylor said they’ve called maintenance multiple times, but their problems are never fully fixed.

“The conditions that we’re living in is unfair when you’re paying your rent on time,” Taylor said. “But you can’t get the service that you’re paying for, and it’s completely unfair.”

Nettles and Taylor said the neglected maintenance issues extend outside of their homes.

“We have squatters that are living in the apartments that have been vacated,” Taylor said, pointing out two vacant units in her building.

On the first unit, the sliding door was broken away from its frame, leaving the apartment open. There was garbage inside the unit.

Next to that unit, another ground-level apartment had heaps of garbage piled on the patio. Taylor said it had been there for months.

Nettles also showed CBS 42 a trail of blood, which she says she first noticed when she came home from work Monday evening.

Drops of blood trailed through her building’s breezeway, growing larger as they continued up the stairs, and to the door to the apartment next to Nettles’.

“It’s disheartening,” Nettles said. “It’s terrible.”

Nettles said she feared for her own safety, and had asked maintenance to clean up the blood.

Nettles and Taylor spoke with CBS 42 Tuesday afternoon.

Calls to The Overlook’s main office were not returned that day, but contact was made Wednesday afternoon.

In an email to CBS 42, Jennifer Saliba, the property manager, wrote:

“Thank you for your inquiry and the opportunity to respond. We value our customers and respect their concerns. We have and will continue to work to address all issues with our residents as expeditiously as possible.”

Nettles and Taylor both said they appreciated Saliba’s response.

When Nettles left for work Wednesday, she said she was happy to see roofers and an increased presence of maintenance workers in the complex.

Late Wednesday afternoon, CBS 42 News reporter Jamie Ostroff saw a maintenance crew cleaning up the blood.


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