Mold, bugs, and dirt: Craven Terrace residents say living conditions aren’t safe

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Tenants from a New Bern apartment complex say no one from management is addressing the living conditions inside their homes.

“We don’t have a plan, we don’t have anywhere to go,” said Dinah Foskey, a Craven Terrace resident.

Craven Terrace is Foskey’s home.

“17 years they’ve gotten my rent on time, even above time, you’ve got me paying months ahead of time,” said Foskey.

In October, her daughter finished cooking and thought she turned off the stove.

Minutes later, the kitchen was on fire.

“We had to run out of the house just the way we were,” said Foskey.

The Foskeys spent a week in a hotel until Preservation Management, the complex managers, moved Foskey and her kids into a temporary apartment, one she said was in bad shape.

“It was not clean, there were spiderwebs everywhere, there were spiders, roaches, roach feces, the bathtub was disgusting,” said Foskey.

On top of that, Foskey found mold all around the house.

“I kept calling to ask them questions, when are we going to get moved in to our new apartment … I called them and no one would ever respond or answer me back,” said Foskey.

Foskey showed WNCT her cellphone call log, listing dozens of calls she made to the office for help.

Foskey said the mold, spiders and other problems remained.

Iyanna Glasgow also lives in Craven Terrace. She showed 9 On Your Side her window, which she says was damaged in Hurricane Florence. Glasgow said she’s reported the issue to managers.

“I don’t know how to do the plastic and all that stuff, so when it rains, it rains inside, and when it’s cold, it’s super cold,” said Glasgow.

Two and a half years after Florence, the window is still busted.

“If I’m paying you, you should do what I’m asking you to do, or do what’s on the contract,” said Glasgow.

Other tenants have similar stories. One woman told WNCT she hasn’t had a working refrigerator in over a week. Another man said he has extensive water damage in his ceiling.

WNCT reached out to preservation management. Lawyers for the company declined our request for an interview, but said WNCT could submit questions by email.

The property manager said there is not a backlog of maintenance requests that are hazardous to tenants. They also said the pandemic is affecting their ability to respond to work requests. Maintenance crews prioritize emergency fixes for right now, while minor items were given lower priority.

Preservation Management asks for tenants’ patience.

WNCT also reached out to the City of New Bern. Jeff Ruggieri oversees development services for the city.

“Everyone in the City of New Bern deserves to live in a structure that at the very least fits the minimum standard,” said Ruggieri.

He said employees with code enforcement have not received many complaints about the conditions in Craven Terrace.

“Not often, but when there are problems, we are contacted as we should be and we investigate every complaint to its fullest extent,” said Ruggieri.

Foskey was waiting for someone with Craven Terrace to respond to her complaints when she got another letter in the mail. She’s being evicted on March 22 and charged $10,000 for the October fire damage.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” said Foskey. “If I did, I wouldn’t be living in the projects.”

The letter says she violated the terms of her lease when the stove fire destroyed her unit.

WNCT asked Preservation Management about her situation.

The company won’t comment on specifics but said the lease any tenant signs addresses fires that are caused carelessly. Foskey says she’s appealing the eviction.

“It’s just me and my girls, this was pretty much it for us, until greater things would come, but other than that we have nowhere,” said Foskey.

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