Rented mobile home is declared unlivable
By ALDO NAHED
Published May 24, 2006
TAMPA - The stench of spilled sewage fouls the air. Electrical sockets dangle unsecured. And none of the smoke detectors work.
For the past month, this has been home for John Rodriguez Jr. and his young family.
But Tuesday afternoon, Harold Scott, a city code enforcement inspector supervisor, called Rodriguez's mobile home "unfit for human habitation."
The man who rented him the place, Jay Thomas, is expected to go before the code enforcement board today to respond to city complaints about seven other units in the Rainbow Mobile Home Park.
"The code board is not that big of a deal," Thomas said. "Five were on unoccupied trailers, and we secured those with 2-by-4s. Two of the units are occupied, and we did all that we could."
Rodriguez, 33, works as an alarm specialist. His wife, 31, daughter, 8, son, 4, and stepson, 12, moved into the park at 4803 E Hillsborough Ave., because they were lured by the $550 a month rent and nearby job locations. They signed a seven-month lease.
They said Tuesday they would stay the night in their condemned home and weigh their options today.
"It's not the outcome I wanted, but you have to take the sweet with the sour," Rodriguez said.
Scott said his office would help the family relocate.
Thomas said he warned Rodriguez that the mobile home had been empty for a long time, and work needed to be done.
"I told him it was going to be a work in progress for him," Thomas said. "I thought we had all the electrical fixed."
The mobile home park houses 29 trailers and about 14 are occupied, he said. Residents say they are unsure if they will continue to have a place to stay.
Bernadine Cellitti, 38, said her home's conditions are similar to Rodriguez's, and she fears code enforcement will ask everyone to leave.
Not everyone at the park is unhappy.
Kimberly White, 51, has lived there for nine years and pays $375 monthly. She says her home isn't that bad.
"I don't complain," she said. "I've never had major problems."
Aldo Nahed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 310-0998.
[Last modified May 24, 2006, 04:27:45]
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