For the first time since tenants filed a class-action lawsuit against the Grand View Apartments in Paso Robles, KSBY News got a look inside the apartment complex on Thursday.
About 200 former and current tenants got together with the help of the SLO Legal Assistance Foundation to sue over alleged violations of health and safety codes.
As the case begins to move through the court system, a temporary restraining order has been issued against the owners of the Grand View Apartments, as well as the property manager. That means tenants won’t have to pay rent until the building is habitable and safe.
Francisco Ramirez has been a renter at Grand View for the last few years.
“(In) my own apartment, water has come from the top apartment and come into mine and I have called and said I need help, there is water all over and all they said is go up to your neighbor and tell them to turn off the water,” Ramirez said.
The lawsuit lists issues including raw sewage outside of the apartment units, water leaks in sinks and showers, frequent lack of hot water, flooding in the parking lot, broken windows, sewage backup, roof leaks, improperly placed stoves, damaged flooring, a lack of air conditioners, malfunctioning refrigerators and heaters, and a lack of functioning smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
“We want help. We want to live in a livable space that is safe and healthy,” Ramirez said.
Tenants also say the building has mold, rats, bedbugs, and cockroaches.
“They just want a place where there aren’t cockroaches and bedbugs eating them up at night and where they are not ashamed to have a friend over because of the state of where they live that they pay decent rent for,” said Stephanie Barclay, Legal Director for the SLO Legal Assistance Foundation.
Ramirez rents a one-bedroom apartment for $1,450 per month.
Tenants say they have suffered for several years from flu-like symptoms, allergies, stomach pains, headaches, rashes, and what are believed to be insect bites and claim that when they would tell the on-site handyman or property manager about these issues, they were bounced back and forth between the two or given excuses for why the problems could not be fixed.
A hearing is set for July 11 at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse.
The property managers were not on site Thursday to comment. KSBY News called their office for comment but has not yet received a response.