Thursday, October 20, 2005
That's Just Wrong: Hurricane Katrina Problems
If Hurricane Katrina taught us one thing - it is a category one cannot be overlooked. We even found some people here in South Florida who still has not recovered from her devastation. They say not only did they lose everything in the storm, but the way they were treated by their landlord is just wrong.
WSVN--It was two months ago, Hurricane Katrina came barreling into town. And while the images in South Florida pale in comparison to New Orleans, some people still had their lives ruined.
Andra Rivero: "On the 25th of August, our apartments, the roof caved in and the roof just blew off. This apartment was the first to cave in."
Andra Rivero didn't need to watch TV to see how cruel Katrina could be. She was home in her Hialeah apartment as things went from bad to worse.
Andra Rivero: "I was in this room when it caved in. If it wasn't for my armoire I would have been hit in the head with the sheet rocks that were falling down."
Her neighbor next door was also sent fleeing from a falling roof.
Andra Rivero: "It got worse and worse until the roof collapsed. That's when we had to run out with my four-month-old baby and my mother and my wife."
They would run but they would never recover. In the days after the storm, some tennants stayed in hotels. Some tennants stayed in trailers. Their landlord promised to reimburse them. But not only were they never reimbursed, their apartments were never repaired.
Andra Rivero: "From the nursery, nothing's left. From the crib and his clothes it's all ruined. If you look in the drawers they have mold. It tears me up what happened to my place because we are left with nothing."
Adding insult to injury, Andra and her neighbors are now being told never to come back. The landlord has decided to terminate their lease. And if they don't remove all their moldy, soaking belongs from underneath the rubble, they won't get their security deposits back either. Now, they say that's just wrong.
Andra Rivero: "We're not getting reimbursed. He doesn't want to sign nothing. We have no place to go. We don't know what to do."
Seven news did make multiple attempts to contact the owner of the building. We left our business card and phone number at his office. Called over and over by phone. But he never responded. We did however find out he cannot hold the security deposits hostage. When we contacted the City of Hialeah, it told us the landlord is responsible for getting rid of the wet and moldy furniture.
Andra Rivero: "This was my grandmothers."
Andra in the meantime has salvaged what she can. She is trying to move on with her life but she can't forget what happened. She's even considering a lawsuit.
Andra Rivero: "I've cried. I can't cry no more because it's affecting my daughter mentally. It's affecting me mentally. I couldn't work."
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