GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Residents at a Gulfport apartment complex say they are concerned after months of dealing with numerous issues, like black mold and constant leaks.
WLOX received multiple calls from tenants living at Villas sur la Riviere Townhomes who told us they had been residing in unfavorable living conditions that the complex’s management refused to appropriately fix.
“We knew that we weren’t moving into brand new condos on the beach,” said resident Rachel Taylor.
Taylor moved to the Villas in June 2019 and says her townhome has been falling apart ever since.
“We knew that they weren’t the most luxurious, but we also expected a reasonable standard of living,” she said.
What she didn’t expect were walls that shook and separated from the foundation, flooding, and layers of paint peeling off to reveal black mold underneath.
“I’m just at my breaking point where I’m saying enough is enough," said Taylor. “It started raining in my kitchen... I couldn’t use half of my appliances.”
Another tenant - who asked not to be identified - allowed cameras in her home, showing more mold forming on the walls, along with gnats and other bugs.
This isn’t the first time these buildings have come under scrutiny. In 2014, WLOX investigated claims of black mold at he Hartford View Apartments, which was the name of the complex before it was bought by new owners in June 2015.
Taylor believes maintenance is held back by the owner of the apartment complex, Chasseur Realty Investors.
“Their hands are tied if the owner will not allow the repairs,” she said.
A visit from a city code enforcement officer did bump up a few requests, she said, but they weren’t permanent fixes.
“Everybody else received minimal repairs that weren’t real repairs," Taylor said. “A bolt to keep the wall from moving when code enforcement shook it but no sealing the wall back to the foundation,” said Taylor, naming one example of how the repairs were only temporary.
Management at the Villas disagree, saying over $100,000 was spent last summer on paving and renovations at the complex.
“The improvements include extensive renovations to the roofs, a complete repaint of the exterior of the townhomes in a new pastel color scheme, and the installation of a new swimming pool, which the community had never had before,” said a statement from Villas sur la Riviere.
“[The owner of the Villas] can spend thousands of dollars renovating new units to get them rented out but he can’t do simple repairs the rest of us need in our homes when we pay our rent,” Taylor disagreed.
Despite the continued issues she and others are still having, Taylor admitted that things have gotten better since the new management took over. Although, she maintains that the solution is for the owner to become more tenant-focused.
“That’s why I’m going through these lengths because if I just move out and keep my mouth shut, then it’s going to happen to another family,” Taylor said.
Read the full statement from Villas sur le Riviere below: