January 21, 2022

Residents at Tampa apartments fight eviction and say black mold is just part of poor living conditions

PHOTO BY DAVE DECKER
Photo by Dave Decker
Tenants at Holly Court Apartments in North Tampa protested an ongoing mass eviction and made demands for serious infrastructure issues to be fixed at the complex yesterday.

On Dec. 31, many tenants were served 30-day eviction notices which said they have to be out by the end of January. Some have already fled the property out of fear of an eviction on their record, but some tenants have chosen to stay and fight.

On Thursday evening, around 30 people gathered to protest the evictions. Some were residents at Holly Court, including children, and others were with the Tampa Tenants Union, which is standing up with the residents to demand that the owners of the complex make immediate changes. Several local new outlets were on scene as well.

The tenants demanded to stay at the complex.
“I ain’t going nowhere, what about you?” asked Ernest Nelson to his fellow residents; he’s been one of the most vocal of the tenants about the evictions. His question received a round of cheers and people confirming that they aren’t going anywhere. At Holly Court, rent is currently $650 for a one-bedroom apartment. With rent spiking 24% overall across the Bay area last year, there’s nowhere else in Tampa that they can afford.

Tenants pointed out that the property managers, Palm Communities LLC, have not mentioned relocation costs, or guaranteed that tenants will have their security deposit returned. They claimed the company has said they will turn off the water on Jan. 31, whether or not people leave the property.

Tenants also called on the company to fix the dirty well water that the property uses, which has been contaminated with dirt for months. Tenants are forced to purchase bottled water. They also pointed to other structural issues like electrical problems, exposed electrical wiring in homes with children, and mold.
One tenant named Shakeila Broughton took CL photographer Dave Decker inside her apartment to take photos. Inside, dangerous black mold covered several surfaces of the apartment, including where she keeps some supplies for her children. One kitchen drawer had fallen apart, and her stove had a completely broken handle. Her base molding was split in two. She told Decker that there’s been no response to her requests for service from the property management company.
PHOTO BY DAVE DECKER
Photo by Dave Decker

The company has been adverse to media and organizers from the tenants union entering the property. The complex is surrounded by a black gate and lined by cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Some residents have said the place feels like a jail.

One tenant who spoke said that the protest was great, but that they need people to put pressure on local officials to hold Palm Communities accountable and to give them a fair shot at staying housed.

“Let them know they can’t just push us out like this,” she said.
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Residents at Tampa’s Holly Court apartments fight eviction at protest, and say that black mold is just part of poor living conditions
Photo by Dave Decker
Residents at Tampa’s Holly Court apartments fight eviction at protest, and say that black mold is just part of poor living conditions
Photo by Dave Decker
Residents at Tampa’s Holly Court apartments fight eviction at protest, and say that black mold is just part of poor living conditions
Photo by Dave Decker
Residents at Tampa’s Holly Court apartments fight eviction at protest, and say that black mold is just part of poor living conditions
Photo by Dave Decker
Residents at Tampa’s Holly Court apartments fight eviction at protest, and say that black mold is just part of poor living conditions
Photo by Dave Decker

Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.