Duval County

INVESTIGATES: Help for residents living in Hilltop Village’s ‘unsanitary conditions’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax investigates a push to help neighbors living in “unsanitary conditions” at the Hilltop Village Apartment Complex.

Management wouldn’t answer, but Action News Jax did speak with tenants and learned that an infestation of rodents has been an ongoing problem for several years.

Action News Jax got the invitation from tenants to look inside a few of these homes, and they say even if their place is clean, the rodents are still coming.

RELATED: ‘It is unacceptable:’ Sen. Rubio demands action be taken over conditions at Jacksonville apartment complex

“I don’t’ want to live with rats, I didn’t put them on my list, I didn’t sign up for this,” one tenant said.

The neighbor didn’t want her face or name shown, but we were asked to take a look inside; we were told traps have been given to those living here. Around the trap were feces and open holes for mice to get through.

One woman says she’s finding anywhere from 3-5 mice per day.

“Your kids be scared, they run across your feet at night, you don’t want to live like that,” she said.

The tenant says she’s called management multiple times but claims not much has been done.

“They gave us traps, instead of coming and observing and seeing what’s really going on,” she said.

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Action News Jax called and even emailed the front office instead to get some answers, but nobody responded. Action News Jax showed up and was kicked off the private property.

Other tenants told us they don’t go to sleep until daylight because they can hear mice running in the walls.

Our law and safety expert Dale Carson says tenants need to send in a handwritten letter so they can hold the complex accountable.

“You have to be able to demonstrate later to a court that in fact you let them know and they have a certain number of days to eliminate the problem; and if they don’t, you don’t have to pay any more rent,” he said.

As for this woman, she says she just wants to live comfortably.

“It’s not fair, it’s not livable and we’re human beings just like everyone else is,” she said.

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Today, Sen. Marco Rubio released his letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary. It said:

“My staff met with tenants and found disturbing evidence of a severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow throughout the entire property. Tenants continue to find rodents inside of bedding, kitchen cabinets, indoor furniture, bathrooms, and more generally.”

Rubio is asking for HUD housing inspections to resume. Inspections have been paused because of COVID-19.

Action News Jax will continue to push for answers from management here about what is being done to help neighbors.