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"The unit is uninhabitable" - Residents at Parc Fontaine Apartments speak out about conditions

Eyewitness News spoke with tenants who say their apartments contain mold and ceilings are leaking.

NEW ORLEANS — Residents at Parc Fontaine in Algiers are speaking out as they say living conditions inside their units are getting worse. From mold to ceiling collapses, tenants said they want things fixed. 

All the people Eyewitness News spoke to asked we protect their identities because they fear eviction or retribution.

One apartment bedroom filled with ceiling debris after a collapse. The woman who owns the unit at the Parc Fontaine Apartment complex in Algiers, rents it out but says the company that owns the overall complex is responsible for fixing major building problems like ceiling and roof issues.  

"For the last three months there's been a steady leak in three different spots," she said. "Monday, September 5th, it caved in. Unfortunately, my tenant was in her bedroom and the ceiling hit her. The unit is inhabitable."

She said she tried to reach property staff for months via phone and email, and even went to the office in person.

"Practically begging them to come and do something, and the only thing I ever received were excuses and broken promises," she said.

Email chains show the leak started on July 2nd. The landlord says she called property management multiple times, then sent emails on August 9th, 23rd, and the 30th.

"What will happen if and when the roof caves in as it did before?" she said.

Emails show the property managers promised to have someone come by, but the landlord said that never happened. Then, September 5th, the ceiling did in fact collapse.

Other renters said maintenance is slow. 

"I have been living here for about three months now and we have been having mold, running water coming out my walls. Mildew," he said.

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He said he was hospitalized for lung problems, because of the mold.

"Mushrooms growing out my carpet, mold growing out my closest on my walls, I had to throw 15 pairs of tennis shoes away which cost within $1500 or more," he said. "On the weekends I go get a hotel room, but I can't afford to keep doing that on the weekdays, I just sleep on my sofa."

Parc Fontaine said this tenant reported the problem on August 25th, even though he said he's been complaining for months. 

September 7th, the same day Eyewitness News spoke to him, maintenance arrived. The tenant told us since then, maintenance cut out the mildew and treated it.

Tom Mulligan is with the City's Code Enforcement Office. That's the department that makes sure buildings meet construction codes for safety.

He said issues at Parc Fontaine go back for years, the most recent investigation, earlier this month, which he said the complex fixed.

"Over the years we have done a number of investigations over at Parc Fontaine," Mulligan said.

Code Enforcement told us there are another half dozen cases under investigation right now. 

"Last year we brought two cases to hearing, we got guilty judgments on both," Mulligan said.

Parc Fontaine is owned by Dr Richard Hamlet, CEO of the ministry Outreach Foundation, and owns two others across the city. 

We told you about the mold issues one tenant had at his complex "The Willows" in New Orleans East.

RELATED: Woman refuses to pay rent at apartment she says isn't liveable

 A former Parc Fontaine employee says she got up to 30 maintenance requests daily.

"As a maintenance clerk, I took all the maintenance orders," she said. "The majority of the requests were ceilings collapsing, water in the units, they had mold …they had some units that weren't even livable. They would tell me it's raining in their units when it's raining outside."

"Parc Fontaine is not the Parc Fontaine it used to be."

The solution from those who live at the complex was simple. Shut the place down.

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