JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax I-TEAM obtained inspection reports that not only reveal that all 14 buildings on the property of the Hilltop Village Apartments in Northwest Jacksonville have a mice infestation -- but there are other safety violations as well.
The I-TEAM obtained the reports after our investigation exposed a rodent infestation in dozens of apartments, triggering a sweep by code enforcement officers who were ordered to inspect all 200 apartments last week.
Our team spent hours reading each code enforcement report. We lined them up by building, starting with A -- noting where mice or evidence of an infestation was spotted during code enforcement’s sweep of the property.
We discovered rodents are not the only problem. The reports list violation after violation, including tenants living with holes in their walls, electrical problems, cabinets considered unsafe and broken appliances.
In the end, we counted a total of 286 violations found in 62 apartments, with a mice infestation noted in 32 homes.
We’ve also talked to more tenants, who sent us photos of dead mice on glue traps and holes in couches from where they nested.
One mother of five sent pictures of mice that had been living in her stove. She said it took the management company three weeks to get her a new one.
Sedricia Tinsley -- who found mice in her daughter’s drawers, others nesting under her kitchen cabinet and even more burrowing into her couch -- sent us video of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspectors insider her apartment on Wednesday. They were there after we discovered HUD had violated its own rules when it failed to inspect the property when it was supposed to in 2017.
Since then, we’ve found HUD has given the apartment community’s owners more than $5.7 million in federal funds as part of a deal to provide housing to families who can’t afford to live anywhere else -- families who say they want just one night when they don’t have to worry about mice crawling into their apartment.
Earlier this week, we also discovered that city inspectors visited the same apartment eight times during an 11-month period starting last May and found a mice infestation every time but still did not fine or penalize the owners of the Hilltop Village Apartments.
On Thursday, Jacksonville City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman held a community meeting with tenants.