Crumbling Detroit apartment complex is house of horrors

Residents of one Detroit apartment building are living in deplorable conditions.

Welcome to River Terrace Apartments where "home sweet home" is a sweltering, moldy mess.

"There's a mold problem all over the building," one resident said.

"It's humid in the hallway, mold, dripping, moisture from the ceiling." said another resident. 

Tenants say the problems have persisted for nearly half a year. They are using plywood to hold up drooping ceilings and ceiling panels mask black mold.

Oftentimes windows are left open in common areas to provide some relief from conditions that have become a sweatbox.

"Open windows where varmint can come in, animals, cats, have come in," said one resident. "Feral cats, possums."

Residents living there were afraid to have their faces shown on camera, fearing retaliation from the property manager.

But not Craig Carter, who told FOX 2 about the boiler system going out in January's cold snap making conditions unbearable.

"It was so cold you could see your breath," he said. "You couldn't hardly do anything. You would go to bed fully dressed."

Many of the buildings in the complex have roof damage and have walls crumbling as a result.

"They're not putting the money back into the building," Carter said. "It needs a lot of repairs."

No one's denying the latter but the owner disagrees with the former.

Kathy Leipsitz, who bought the 90-year-old complex in 2009, said by phone she's aware of the problems at River Terrace and is in the process of securing $5 million to renovate it.

Her vision includes mixed-use development and an urban beachfront.

She says the water logged apartment buildings are not affecting occupied units.

Tenants living in them would beg to differ. 

FOX 2: "Are you concerned about your health?"

"Absolutely," said a resident. 

Another said, "You wonder when you are having trouble breathing, you have a runny nose, if it's part of a mold issue."

The city hit the apartment complex with several code violations ranging from a leaking roof to bad electrical switches to fire safety issues. 

The owner has big plans for the apartment's future and is working to deliver on them. 

Right now residents can't see their moldy present. 

The owner said the renovations should begin sometime in the spring.

The city of Detroit said those code violations are going directly to the law department for nuisance abatement enforcement.
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