After last week’s rains, an apartment rented since July by a Cuban couple with a three-year-old girl was left homeless.

“When we opened the door, the whole landslide fell on our bed, on the girl’s bed,” says Gretel González, the affected resident, who is now homeless.

Fortunately, the family was not at home. But on several occasions since February, they have complained to the condo association, property managers and even the landlord about roof problems, rodents and fungus.

And after the incident happened and informed everyone involved, they said no one showed up to observe what happened.

“On Friday he came to tell us again that since the contract was going to end, that they were not going to penalize us for leaving before July and that he was going to give us the deposit and the last rent, and that since we had not looked for other lawsuits, where there were none, that I leave so that they can start repairing the roof”, say the young Cubans.

According to real estate lawyer Stephanie Cruz, “before the arrival of hundreds of migrants, many like this family, unaware of their rights”.

“The owner is supposed to give you a habitable unit that has water, that has security, that you can live in there with your family. And the association too. The association is supposed to maintain what is called the ‘common elements‘ so that it doesn’t happen. Why is the ceiling falling? There may have been some kind of problem that was never fixed,” they explain.

This Wednesday, Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo arrived at the scene, where city firefighters also appeared and, along with representatives from the code compliance department, declared the unit uninhabitable.

Mónica Pérez, President of the Hialeah Council, says, “You always have to seek help. You can’t live seeing mushrooms in your room. You have to call the city, claim that you don’t feel that you’re going to be in good health with your family and that there are people who have responsibilities in the buildings. Municipal inspectors who should come and assess these situations”.

The couple get help, and the City of Hialeah’s Code Enforcement Department has begun examining the property, nearing its 40-year-old recertification, while trying to avoid fatal pitfalls.

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