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Rubio Requests HUD Take Immediate Action at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville

May 5, 2021 | Press Releases

Miami, FL  — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge requesting immediate action to ensure sanitary and safe living conditions for constituents living at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida. The letter follows reports of unacceptable conditions at the property, as well as a site visit from the Senator’s staff, in which they found evidence of a severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow throughout the entire property. Hilltop Village Apartments is federally contracted through the Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance program.
 
Last week, Rubio sent a letter to HUD requesting action in response to similarly unsanitary conditions at the Eastside Terrace and Eastside Gardens Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida. This letter raised concern that other properties may be in similar conditions throughout Florida and called for the Secretary to resume affordable housing inspections of HUD assisted properties, which have been put on hold since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
 
“I write to direct your attention to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions that my constituents are currently facing at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida,” Rubio wrote. “After receiving outreach directly from affected residents, my staff visited the facility on May 3, 2021. During these visits, my staff met with tenants and found disturbing evidence of a severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow throughout the entire property. Tenants continue to find rodents inside of bedding, kitchen cabinets, indoor furniture, bathrooms, and more generally.” 
 
“I request immediate action to ensure that constituents are guaranteed the safe and sanitary living conditions they are afforded by law,” Rubio continued. “This must include an immediate REAC inspection to update the inspection score of the property as well as requiring remediation measures to ensure the rodent infestation is swiftly and completely resolved. I also request that a Management and Occupancy Review be performed and the enforcement of any applicable penalties on ownership or management for failure to comply.”
 
The full text of the letter is below.
 
Dear Secretary Fudge:
 
I write to direct your attention to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions that my constituents are currently facing at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida. After receiving outreach directly from affected residents, my staff visited the facility on May 3, 2021. During these visits, my staff met with tenants and found disturbing evidence of a severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow throughout the entire property. Tenants continue to find rodents inside of bedding, kitchen cabinets, indoor furniture, bathrooms, and more generally.
 
While Hilltop Village Apartments reportedly passed its last Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspection on December 2, 2015, it has not been inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since then. This would appear to violate HUD’s Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS), which states that this property should have received another inspection in 2017. Additionally, the property has not been inspected by HUD despite the filing by tenants of numerous formal complaints to the City of Jacksonville Code Enforcement Department since 2019, and the City’s subsequent communication of these complaints to HUD.
 
It is unacceptable that the residents of Hilltop Village Apartments have been obligated to live under these conditions, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents should not have to wait almost six years between safety and sanitation inspections to be guaranteed appropriate living conditions.
 
I request immediate action to ensure that constituents are guaranteed the safe and sanitary living conditions they are afforded by law. This must include an immediate REAC inspection to update the inspection score of the property as well as requiring remediation measures to ensure the rodent infestation is swiftly and completely resolved. I also request that a Management and Occupancy Review be performed and the enforcement of any applicable penalties on ownership or management for failure to comply.
 
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with HUD to protect the people and families at Hilltop Village Apartments.
 
Sincerely,