2011-02-03 / Top Stories

Bayview Tenant Says Ceiling Leaks Cause Children’s Asthma

By Dara Mormile

Blister on wall near window, plus ceiling leaks, are only a couple of problems in top-floor Bayview apartment. 
Dara Mormile Blister on wall near window, plus ceiling leaks, are only a couple of problems in top-floor Bayview apartment. Dara Mormile For over two months, Natisha Davila has been living in deplorable conditions in her eighth floor apartment at 9910 Seaview Avenue in the Bayview Houses development. Water has been leaking through the walls and ceiling of her bedroom and pockets of water have been accumulating throughout the apartment.

“My children have developed asthma and allergies because of the mold,” Davila said,

Her children, ages one, two, four, and two months, have been tested for numerous allergies and doctor’s notes advised housing authorities that the family move from the apartment where they’ve been living since 2006.

Davila’s oldest son, Ramid Jr., tested positive for mold, dust and cockroach allergies and, she said, “he is constantly in the hospital from allergy attacks as a result of what’s in this apartment.”

Mold spores have been growing in Davila’s bedroom along her windowsills and above her bed. And a water bubble in the ceiling has started leaking.

Davila has called the central maintenance office for emergencies and placed numerous complaint tickets. The desperate tenant said she calls every day to place a new maintenance ticket because each case closes after 24 hours if the issue hasn’t been taken care of. Repairs that do go through the system are then dispatched to the building managers.

According to Bayview’s manager Jose Espinal, repairing the damage is more complicated than sending maintenance workers to the apartment.

“We have to put a request in for a roofer,” Espinal said. “At this point, a roofer isn’t going to be able to do anything because the building has a flat roof – which prevents snow and water from drying.

“Conditions need to be dry if they’re going to start knocking down bricks and repairing the roof. The walls are going to leak again if we do anything now,” he said. “There’s honestly no temporary fix for this kind of damage.”

Espinal admitted he did not see the damage inside the apartment. He also said he put in a request for a building transfer for Davila, but, with four children, a five room apartment is difficult to get in such a short time.

“Mrs. Davila expressed to me that she wants an apartment closer to the first floor,” he said. “I put her transfer application through and now it’s on a waiting list, which I have no control over. Another option for a possibly faster transfer would be to chose another development to move to outside of Bayview Houses.”

Davila said she prefers not to move outside of Bayview. For now, she said she has to think of ways to move furniture around so that she’s not sleeping under a leaking ceiling.

“This isn’t fair that I’m paying rent for an apartment I can’t even live in,” Davila said.

President of the Bayview Houses Community Association Sheryl Boyce said she has been in touch with Espinal and pleaded for something short-term to be done until weather conditions improve and a thorough job can be done fixing the roof.

“There has to be a way roofers can at least keep the leaks from spreading,” said Boyce, who agreed to keep in contact with the manager and Davila throughout the next few days and weeks until a long-term solution is planned.

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