Five building in Havana Palms will undergo an inspection this weekend to determine if the homes are considered safe for living. Reinaldo Benitez, a city of Miami unsafe structure inspector, explains the situation. NBC6's Myriam Masihy reports.
Residents of a Little Havana condominium complex could be forced to leave after suffering a series of damage to their homes, including a condo whose floor sank into the ground.
The city had originally planned to have the buildings evacuated by next Monday, and put up signs that told the residents that the houses were unsafe.
"Subsequent to that they obtained another engineer report that indicates that the damage is actually a lot less than it was mentioned in the first one," said Reinaldo Benitez, City of Miami unsafe structure inspector.
According to the city's building department, that second report says only a few units are in danger of collapsing and now inspectors have agreed to reevaluate the five buildings in Havana Palms.
"It moves, it's just cardboard and it's all humid," said resident Marina Ruiz, who has cracks and signs of humidity all over her walls.
Her neighbor, Juana Blandon, says she doesn't walk on her sunken living room floor because she is afraid it will collapse.
The fear began in January when an elderly resident of the Havana Palms apartment complex on Southwest 9th Avenue and 2nd Street was forced out of his unit when a large hole opened up in his living room.
But the damage in those homes dates back about five years. In 2008 a pipe structure broke, and waste began to sprout from the tubes causing an unbearable smell. But it’s the sinking houses that bring the most worries, El Nuevo Herald reported.
Meanwhile, owners that bought these units when they were converted into condos during the construction boom are trying to figure out how this could've happened. They say the company that owned the buildings, Montara Land, received an alarming report in 2006, but still sold them the units.
Residents fear their houses will collapse. They avoid walking in the center of their living rooms, prohibit children from playing and are awaiting news from the inspectors.
The owners of Montara Land were not available for comment. The city says once they evaluate the situation, they will tell the owners what needs to be done. If it's not fixed within a reasonable amount of time, the units will have to be demolished.