Health dept. cites apartment building, woman claims she was evicted for complaining

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Marion County Health Department is investigating complaints about mold, safety concerns and bugs at an apartment building. Resident Jamie Edwards said she noticed several problems the building, located at 3744 North Meridian.

The health department found 11 violations in her apartment. An inspector could not find a working smoke detector. Other violations include moldy cabinets in the kitchen, exposed wiring and electric outlets without covers. The department also received a complaint about bed bugs but has yet to investigate it.

“He would not fix anything so I did call the health department. First I warned him several times that something was going on up there and he need to come check it out but he never did,” said Edwards.

There are currently three open health department investigations at the address. Another report cites an undetermined amount of asbestos and said residents have not been properly notified.

FOX59’s Liz Gelardi talked to the landlord, Tesfai Tesfa, on the phone. He agreed to meet for an interview to tell his side of the story but never showed up. The building is owned by Hawia Rental. Tesfa has not returned phone calls.

Edwards received an eviction notice dated on May 27th. It states she is being evicted for failure to pay rent and too much complaining. Edwards showed FOX59 her receipts and said she paid her May rent in full. She believes she is being kicked out because she spoke up. It is a difficult situation because Edwards used to be homeless and was trying to get back on her feet.

“I’m getting evicted I know for a fact because I complained to the health department,” Edwards.

One resident tried to defend the landlord. She told FOX59 if the building was shutdown she would have no where else to go.

“He’s trying the best that he can to work with everybody, do what he has to do to fix up the building,” said resident Kaylynn Summit.

A spokesperson with the health department said the landlord was in contact with them today. The owner has until June 27th to correct the violations. The Department of Code Enforcement will also look into concerns with the building.