Tampa councilwoman pledges action to address problems at Silver Oaks Apartments

Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak pledged to work with every available regulatory agency to address the problems.

click to enlarge Residents of Silver Oaks Apartments lead councilwoman Hurtak to observe issues on the property. - Dave Decker
Dave Decker
Residents of Silver Oaks Apartments lead councilwoman Hurtak to observe issues on the property.

After visiting the residents of Silver Oaks Apartments in East Tampa, councilwoman Lynn Hurtak has pledged to help ensure that their living conditions improve.

The affordable housing complex has been plagued with problems—including rodents, black mold and collapsing ceilings—due to poor upkeep from management.

"Yesterday residents of the Silver Oaks apartment complex invited me into their homes to show me firsthand the disturbing conditions in which they are forced to live. I saw — and smelled — the black mold, rodent droppings, and rampant disrepair, a solution for which residents have been begging for months," Hurtak wrote in a city memo today.

After residents at the troubled complex first spoke to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay last week in the hopes of improving problems, management at the apartment complex began deterring media who showed up later in the day and relief volunteers delivering cleaning supplies from entering the property.

Hurtak's memo added that affordable housing, "has for too long been synonymous with unsafe housing," and said she is dedicated to defending the right of every Tampa resident to have access to safe housing. She thanked Florida’s state Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried, for her time spent talking with Silver Oaks residents about what Hurtak called a "catastrophe."

Hurtak's memo pointed to research which shows that human exposure to molds, mycotoxins, and water-damaged buildings can have significant adverse effects to the nervous systems of both children and adults.

"I pledge to Silver Oaks residents to work with every available regulatory agency, including Mayor Castor, city staff, and Commissioner Fried’s office, to ensure their homes are safe living spaces," Hurtak wrote.

Hurtak also spoke to Tampa Fire Chief Barbara Tripp with regard to resident concerns that exits to the property appear to have been bolted shut, a major safety concern.  Chief Tripp informed me the fire marshal staff will examine it today.

On Facebook, a resident at Silver Oaks posted that the gate was opened this morning.