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City of Tampa

Luis Viera moves a motion for the Tampa City Council to take action on Timber Falls’ troubled apartments.

After outcry over ongoing problems at Timber Falls apartments in Tampa, the City Council called for action today in a unanimous vote.

Several concerned residents and citizens spoke in the council chamber about a range of problems in the apartment complex, from black mold to rats nibbling children, to dodgy rent spikes and accusations of theft. money from tenants.

After hearing the concerns, Councilman Luis Viera called for action in the coming days, to let Timber Falls management know that the city council is serious about the situation.

Viera called for a letter of “concern and outrage” from the city council to Timber Falls management, as well as asking the city’s legal department to investigate whether or not management violated the local laws or ordinances. Viera also called on the legal team to consider any ordinances that may be passed in the future to avoid such issues. He suggested 60 days for the legal team to look into these matters.

Additionally, he called a community meeting with the Tampa Office of Human Rights and Code Enforcement at the resort to see and hear residents’ concerns.

“You have to be very careful to [Timber Falls] because it’s outrageous,” Viera said at the board meeting.

The vote from the rest of council was unanimous for Viera’s motion, with all city council members expressing their disapproval of the situation in Timber Falls – located at 2600 E 113th Ave. in the university district – and some even calling the behavior “criminal.”

During public comments, several Timber Falls residents spoke about their experiences.

Sheryl Fadous has accused management of raising her rent without telling her, after she was told she did not need to renew her lease because she was entitled to housing assistance. She was later told that her rent was in fact overdue and that she suddenly owed $1,900 because management had placed her on a month-to-month lease without her knowledge, increasing her rent by $300 per month.

Afraid of being evicted, she paid management $1,300 this month, planning to pay the rest later, but still received an eviction notice.

“She [the property manager] put a $1,900 eviction notice on my bill the very next day,” Fadous said. “She said whatever happened before she got there, it’s not her fault and I’ll be kicked out of my house.

Valencia Simpson-Holmes said the toilets were overflowing with feces, broken air conditioning units were rampant and black mold was growing from the floor.

“We are forced to stay here because the rent is so high everywhere,” Simpson-Holmes said in an emotional appeal to the council.

Holmes accused the former property management company, Tzadik Management, of stealing tenants’ money, and added that now the new property manager, Residential Management Incorporated, is trying to recover that money from tenants.

In 2020, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Tzadik Management received a large PPP loan because residents were suffering from inhumane conditions.

According to Simpson-Holmes, the problems have continued from there and residents are in desperate need of help.

“Please do something about Timber Falls, please,” she said.