Richmond tenants say apartments are unsafe, mold ridden and repairs aren’t being made

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RICHMOND, Mo. -- Falling ceilings, a rotting wall and black mold are just some of the conditions people living in a Ray County apartment complex say they're being subjected to.

They're frustrated more's not being done to fix the problems.

Chris Graham said soon after moving into C & L Apartments in Richmond, everyone in his family got sick. The baby was the worst.

"She was diagnosed with RSV and bronchitis, and we explained we didn't know where it was coming from," Graham said.

He started exploring his apartment building and couldn't believe what he saw in the units directly below.

"This is all mold," Graham said.

Soon after, the city condemned that entire building. The Grahams and another family moved to other units in the complex. But they couldn't understand why inspectors didn't review those other buildings for health and safety issues, too.

"This is mold -- one thing he's tried to paint over, and it's come back through," said Graham, looking at the bathroom of his new apartment.

The shower leaks water, and the ceiling above is saturated.

"It's unsafe conditions for anybody," said Graham, who has three children and his girlfriend is pregnant.

Beulah Sanders lives a few doors down. Every time it rains, she said water pours into her bedroom and runs down the utility closet doors. The ceiling inside the closet is collapsed. Water stains and what looks like mold coat walls and ceilings and a white fungus is growing from the carpet.

"Nobody should live like this," Sanders said.

She and other residents said the landlord just won't fix the problems.

FOX4 reached out to the building owner. He called back and declined an interview, but insisted some work's already been done, foundation repairs will start this week, and a new maintenance person will be hired.

Residents said they'll believe it when they see it.

"I can't afford to move. I have to live here. I don't have any place to go," Sanders said.

The city said its hands are tied. Richmond doesn't have "property maintenance codes," which would allow it to inspect rental units. Right now, it has to get a complaint about unsafe conditions, then ask the landlord's permission to check for dangerous building violations.

The city administrator believes the ongoing concerns surrounding C & L Apartments may ultimately spark renewed discussions about property maintenance code and keeping owners accountable within the city council.

Richmond also only holds administrative hearings on dangerous building code violations once a year.

The owner of C & L Apartments won't have a hearing on the condemned building until March 2020. Right now, no utilities are running to that building, and it can't be rented out.

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