When Takira Thomas from Bremerton, Washington called the Kitsap County Building Inspector to report damage to her apartment she had no idea that it would cause her to become homeless. “I wasn’t ready for it. It was shocking,” said Thomas, a student at Olympia College. A few days prior to Sept. 27, Takira stepped out onto her apartment’s second floor deck and her foot went right through the floorboard. “I couldn’t believe it, I actually twisted my ankle,” she said.
Thomas and her roommate, Deannette Hundven, at the Wedgewood Lane Apartments are now homeless and their apartment has been deemed structurally unsafe. The apartment building, it was discovered, has suffered water damage, dry rot and pests. It is now covered in brown plastic and yellow caution tape.
Inspectors found severe damage under the living room carpet. “I had a hole in the living room — if you lift up the carpet you could see in the apartment downstairs,” Thomas said. The county Fire Marshall said his inspector discovered massive water damage, dry rot and a pest infestation in five other apartments also.
A red tag has been slapped on the Thomas apartment and the apartment below it, deeming the properties unsafe to enter and unfit to live in. The other four apartments got yellow-tagged, making them only safe to enter in case of emergency. The residents had to move immediately. “We need help moving — had to take time off of work, how are we going to afford it?” Hundven asked, “It was impossible.”
To make matters worse a default notice was just posted on a number of tenant’s doors addressed to the property owner Desmond Gibson. Some tenants fear a foreclosure and are now withholding their rent. They fear they may lose it as well as their homes. Gibson, who is currently out of state, was shocked to learn of the damage and says the default notices are just part of a refinancing process.
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