Just days before the holidays, a building in Little Havana was deemed unsafe, and now residents have just days to get up and go before the power gets disconnected.
In a few days, the electricity to 1050 SW 5th Street will be cut off before demolition crews move in. The families who live there — including an elderly woman and a small child — said they knew nothing about it and that the owner of the building is nowhere to be found.
Over the weekend, the city declared the building uninhabitable and posted a sign notifying residents that they must vacate before the structure gets demolished next Tuesday.
"The company that rent to us don’t make maintenance. Nothing. Nothing," said resident Nelson Diaz Lugo. "It’s a terrible situation.”
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Most of the residents, including Lugo, had already paid the $750 monthly rent for this month.
"Especially in December. December, with the holidays," Lugo said.
The building was sold to a new owner in 2016, residents said. This year, that owner went in front of the City of Miami's unsafe structure review board, which suggested demolition. There were visible holes throughout the building, mold in the bathrooms and throughout the corners, as well as an illegally built kitchen under the stairwell.
“The conditions here, they’re not even third world. They’re fourth world," said Commissioner Joe Carollo.
Carollo said he’s working with the city to find hotels to house the renters for the next three or four weeks. He said they’re still trying to make contact with the owner, who knew about the demolition and did not notify the people living and paying rent here.
The owner’s number is not listed online. The office was closed Monday. A neighbor said it's only open a few days each month.
"We are going to deal with him to the full extent of the law, but he stole money from these people knowing the city was coming to demolish this," Carollo said.
The property is owned by an LLC called Vq Everglades Homes. The city of Miami is looking into the company because they have several other buildings throughout the city.