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Indianapolis apartment complex struggling to keep up with maintenance requests due to short staffing

"We are living in really bad conditions."
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Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-09 10:23:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents at an east side apartment complex said goodbye Friday to mounds of garbage that they say piled up for at least a month.

Fire Dawgs Junk Removal and Ray's Trash Service hauled away the trash from Washington Pointe Apartments. Ray's says they saw WRTV's story and wanted to pitch in. Fire Dawgs says the cleanup took about four hours and their crew will be back if needed.

"Trash is trash and it's never gonna go anywhere else, so it's gotta be hauled away, so we're the guys that can do it," Brycen Spangler, Fire Dawgs Operations Manager, said.

Residents are thrilled the trash that consumed the area is no longer there, but say the lack of maintenance is still a problem.

"We are living in really bad conditions," said Lakisha Phoenix.

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Phoenix says the ceiling in her children's bathroom is covered in what she believes is mold. She keeps the door shut and now her and her six children have to share the other bathroom.

"My youngest son has started to develop a constant cough since we moved here," she said.

She says they've been living with this for seven months.

"It started like [in] March. I called into the rental office; I complained numerous times. They come in they look at it and they leave. I called the health department, they came out as well," Phoenix said.

"It literally takes months until you get a person to come into your apartment," said Asia Harris.

Harris showed us her maintenance requests for this year.

On April 8, she submitted a plumbing request. Her work order history shows it wasn't fixed until June 3.

On September 15, 2020, Harris had a maintenance request that she flagged as urgent. It wasn't completed until October 30.

"That's with me calling at least once a week, twice a week or maybe even three times a week," said Harris.

Mirtala Cooley says a window at a vacant unit has been busted for more then a month, posing a threat to nearby children.

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"It's ridiculous," she said.

Cooley also says her bathroom recently flooded and she hasn't been able to get any help.

"I left multiple voicemails and still nothing is fixed. The floor is still wet. I am fairly certain mold is growing now," said Cooley.

Kittle Properties says they don't have enough workers to keep up. A spokesperson sent us a statement today saying a contractor is working to help with maintenance issues, but that company is also short-staffed. The company says most other contractors are booked six months out, and temp agencies haven't been able to help.

Residents say this dilemma is putting their health at risk.

"I was also told when I called maybe a couple of weeks ago, that we have not one person in maintenance right now and that's a huge issue. I am not sure who is doing emergency calls right now," said Harris.

WRTV reached out to the Marion County Public Health Department to see if it's investigating more complaints at Washington Pointe Apartments. We were told we should have more information on Monday.

The complex had until October 12 to clean the garbage up.

Full statement from Kittle Properties:

"We are having the same hiring challenges that other companies are having nationwide. We do have a contractor working with us to help work through maintenance issues, but they are short-staffed themselves. When we call around to hire other contractors, they are booked 6 months out. We've also tried to work temp agencies, but they are short-staffed. We are seeing this across the industry. It's a difficult situation for all involved- our residents and our team- but we are exploring every option in an effort to find a solution."