Excerpts from code enforcement case files offer a glimpse into the conditions many Fresnans have endured throughout the years.
City officials have known for decades about low-income housing issues that plague the city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents. Many who stay silent for fear of being evicted or deported are forced to continue living in unhealthy and unsafe apartments.
A four-month investigation by The Bee included digging through thousands of pages of case history reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The reports include narratives of calls from tenants complaining about their living conditions, as well as field notes from code enforcement inspectors. Here are a few notable passages:
(Note: All cases have since been closed)
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Date: Sept. 16, 2008
Address: 3272 E. Olive Ave.
Owner: Muhammad Rasul
“Leaking faucets, plumbing is backed up, water smells like feces. There is mold in the unit, the heating unit does not work and there is faulty wiring. There is also an insect infestation (cockroaches, fleas) as well as mice and black widow spiders.”
Date: Aug. 17, 2010
Address: 2075 S. Hayston Ave.
Owner: Sunny and Cecilia Chan
“Sunday night A/C leaking caused ceiling to get soggy and collapsed on younger brother. Fresno Fire Department told them to leave the apartment and that it is not safe for them. Told management and management was going to send someone out today at 2 p.m. No one showed.”
Sunday night A/C leaking caused ceiling to get soggy and collapsed on younger brother.
Resident of 2075 S. Hayston Ave.
Date: Aug. 28, 2010
Address: 2530 W. Andrews Ave.
Owner: David and Linda Hovannisian
“Hot water heater broke causing flooding of the apt. Mold is forming and unsanitary carpet. Special needs toddler and an infant … Tenants are Spanish speaking.”
Date: July 10, 2013
Address: 5148 E. Hedges Ave.
Owner: Leo Puig
“Tenant stated her unit was flooded and all her furniture was damaged. I observed several areas of concrete outside her unit that had been dugged out; a foul moisture odor coming from the apt. Carpet was taken out and replaced with old thick carpeting and was not secured. I lifted some of the padded carpet and noted the floor was still wet. Advised [tenant] I would contact Leo.”
Date: Aug. 27, 2015
Address: 2025 E. Pontiac Way
Owner: Sheikh Kiuum
“Refrigerator is plugged in in the living room area. The handyman “Ricard” already told tenants that the problem is an electrical issue inside the wall. When tenants first informed the on-site manager on Thursday (8-20-2015), Kiki in return told the tenants that Sheikh said, ‘Don’t tell me [expletive] about anything’ (don’t complain).”