Living conditions at one Hartford apartment building are turning into a nightmare after a large sinkhole developed.
That sinkhole, tenants say, is just the tip of the iceberg.
“It was probably a quarter inch open. Now, it's two feet, three feet wide,” said Adam Allen, who is a frustrated tenant.
He said it took just three days for the small hole to expand.
“It's from piping that had to be repaired multiple times, maintenance told me this has happened before,” Allen said.
At the property, around the hole is not roped off, but a door was.
“Because of things like this, I can't keep my son here,” Allen said.
Tenants said police had to pop the lock during an investigation months ago and the doorknob was never replaced.
“You could just open it and come in and hang out,” said tenant David Merritt.
He said he was fed up with seeing people loitering and even sleeping in the halls, so he took security into his own hands, by tying a rope to a pole, rendering the door useless, but preventing strangers from entering.
“I asked my neighbors and they agree with me so we keep them out,” Merritt said.
Hassan Muhammad, who is in charge of maintenance, said he's fighting an uphill battle against the tenants themselves, who he says have intentionally broken the knobs for every door in the complex.
“They cut the locks, they break the locks, cause half of them lose their keys, they can't get in so they tear the locks up. Someone even took a saw and cut the whole lock out of the door,” Muhammad said.
He admitted management was aware of the sinkhole problem and would tend to it, but says waging a battle with tenants and their guests over things that can be controlled is frustrating.
“You own a property, you're in it to make money, that's why you buy property, you lease it out. You maintain it, but you have to get rid of the bad tenants and it's hard to get rid of some of them,” Muhammad said.
The building is owned by ADAR Hartford Realty LLC., based out of New York.
According to the city of Hartford, it's the only building they own.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) subsidizes the property as well. In many cases, the agency pays a portion of the tenants' rent and sometimes, like in Allen’s case, they pay it entirely, but he says that shouldn't prevent him or anyone else from having a safe place to live.
“I want the best community for my children and this is just not safe at all,” Allen said.
HUD said the last time the building was inspected was in 2015 and it passed, scoring an 82. Passing is anything above 60.
HUD said they were concerned about what was found on Monday and promised they would send an investigator out and are already working with the property management company to get things fixed.
HUD did say they had three complaints filed since 2015.
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