Apartments deemed unsafe to live in: Tenants forced to leave

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JACKSON, Mich (WILX) -- Imagine being without a place to live tonight, after your apartment is called "unsafe" but the city.

That's the case for a dozen people in Jackson.

Four apartments at the Abbey Villas were deemed "unsafe" after a city inspection last Wednesday. One family who was forced out just wants answers.

"I don't wish this to my worst enemy. This is not a good situation for anybody," Luis Rivera said.

Luis Rivera and his girlfriend, Charity, were recently told they needed to move out of their apartment at Abbey Villas. Also living in the home are three children and another tenant. The city paid for them to stay in a hotel for the time being, but they said the whole ordeal has put a strain on them.

"All the money expenses. We don't feel comfortable here. We don't feel like this is a safe environment for the kids. That's all I care about -- the kids," he said.

The city says that there are some electrical issues that are making the apartments unsafe. They told News 10 it's their job to make sure tenants aren't paying for unsafe conditions.

"There were regular inspections happening at this apartment complex and that's when inspections noticed some serious electrical issues that were putting people at risk," said Aaron Dimick, public information officer for the city of Jackson.

The bathroom fan was the problem. Dimick says the fans and parts of the ceiling were removed and not replaced. Instead, the complex covered them with plastic, leaving them unsealed. This allowed the outside elements in, which was not a good mix with the electrical wiring.

Tenants say the company in charge of the apartments, Roco Real Estate, have kept them in the dark about the entire situation.

"The city of Jackson has been doing a great help for us. They are the ones that put us here in the first place. Those are the ones that are really looking out for us, ... not Roco Estate who was supposed to be doing all of this," Rivera said.

Rivera and others say that live there just want to go home.

"It's been really stressful for me ... to find a way out of this."

News 10 reached out to Roco Real Estate. They told us safety is their top priority and they're working with the city to get people back into their homes.

The city of Jackson says there are more than a dozen units that have been vacated by the city for multiple reasons. These include a fire, maggots in the carpet, and electrical issues.