JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New information following a monthslong investigation into an embattled apartment community in Northwest Jacksonville where the News4Jax I-TEAM found a mice infestation in April of this year: Court documents confirm the problems still have not been fixed.
Code enforcement inspectors were back out at Hilltop Village Apartments at the end of last month. Now we know they found 26 violations, 14 of which document a rodent infestation. Many of the violations involve tenants who have had a persistent problem that has still not been cleared up. All are from inspections that occurred on Sept. 22 and note a rodent infestation in apartments located in eight of the 14 buildings on the property.
Code enforcement inspectors have been conducting regular inspections since the mayor’s office ordered a sweep of Hilltop Village Apartments after the first I-TEAM story on the complex revealed a mice infestation so severe mice were living and defecating in clothes, nesting inside kitchen cabinets, found in a box under a tenant’s sink and burrowing in couches.
Inspectors have been issuing fines against the owner since then — which have amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.
The property manager told the I-TEAM in May that they’re doing everything they can to fix the problem, which, according to tenants, is still not resolved.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid filed a lawsuit earlier this summer against the owners of Hilltop Village Apartments, insisting that the tenants be relocated while the rodent infestation is fixed.
The owners have responded and accuse tenants of purposely making the mice problem worst. They submitted pictures from the pest control company hired to exterminate the mice to the judge presiding over the lawsuit. Those pictures, they say, show tenants making the problem worse by leaving out food.
No date has been set for the next hearing.
Meanwhile, the Duval County School Board on Tuesday is expected to consider a resolution calling on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to stop issuing vouchers for use at the complex until the owners and management company take more steps to make the complex safe for children. The school board says it’s acting on behalf of the students who live at the complex and who have been negatively impacted by the rodent infestation.