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'I'm literally stuck': Tampa apartment resident living with black mold, broken appliances

Martisa Brooks brought 10 Tampa Bay into her apartment, showing us the damage she's dealt with for years.

TAMPA, Fla — "Mold. Flooding. A leaky AC unit. Pests. a lot of things that nobody would want to deal with," Martisa Brooks said.

These are the issues Brooks deals with every day.

She tells 10 Tampa Bay she recently spent $152 on paint to try to cover up the moldy walls. 

Brooks has been living in the Silver Oaks Apartment Complex for four years. She said she reached out to management on her first day there for repairs. And she's been reaching out ever since. 

"Nope," she answered to if her maintenance requests get answered. "I haven’t gotten a response yet. I’m still waiting."

Reporter Malique Rankin went to the on-property office. A staffer told her to call the corporate office, Cambridge Management Inc, based in Tacoma, Washington. That call was then routed to a full voicemail box. 10 Tampa Bay has also emailed the corporate office and is still waiting for a response. 

RELATED: Members of the Tampa Tenants Union call on city officials for rent control

Brooks said her issues are ones that many of the residents at the complex share. Instead of working light fixtures on her ceiling, peeling drying hung down. It was a result of an unfixed leak, Brooks explained. 

"They could actually give us livable units," Brooks said. "They could come [to] fix the minor problems. Just get rid of the mold. If anything. Fix the leaking AC units."

Silver Oaks is classified as low-income housing. This means they receive federal funding. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sent the following statement in response to our request on if they've been made aware of the ongoing residents' concerns.

"HUD’s number one priority is the safety and well-being of those who live in HUD-assisted housing. Whenever we learn of substandard conditions, we take action to ensure property management addresses deficiencies immediately. Upon learning of the conditions at Silver Oaks Apartments, HUD reached out to Cambridge Management Inc. representatives to get updates on the reported incidents. Additionally, the Performance-Based Contract Administrator, which is the initial point of contact for complaints, was contacted to obtain a list of the incoming complaints made to their office. HUD will continue regular communication with Cambridge Management and the contract administrator to ensure timely resolution to these issues. The Department takes these matters seriously and is focused on ensuring all residents have safe, decent, and sanitary housing."

According to HUD's website, tenants at Silver Oaks pay roughly 30 percent of the total rent costs. HUD pays the difference. 

When asked if Brooks considered moving, she said it's not in the cards with rising rent prices everywhere.

"No," Brooks said. "Rent is way above what I can afford right now. So I’m literally stuck, I have no choice."

The property management company, Cambridge Management Inc, has a poor track record with its properties across the state. 

The raised concerns prompted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to recently introduce two bills to make sure properties like Silver Oaks are regularly inspected and held to health and safety standards. 

RELATED: Tampa is already pausing applications for its brand new rent assistance program

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