Article Courtesy of
ABC Action News WFTS Tampa Bay
By Andrea Lyon
Published May 4, 2019
WATCH THE VIDEO
WINTER HAVEN — “I feel
like they left me here to die,” Erica Ray, a
single mom battling breast cancer says. She
claims that her condo is infested with mold.
Sunday, she made the
hard decision to move herself and her children out of Royal
Crescent Condominiums because she said the conditions in her
home were making her sick.
“I was already sick and every morning I was getting up I was
coughing my children were coughing,” Ray said.
This, she says, is not a recent problem. Mold, mildew and
water problems have been issues she’s been dealing with for
at least two years. Ray isn’t the only one either.
“You go inside and I started coughing so much and I couldn’t
breathe,” Sarai Cruz owns another condo in the same
community and says she moved out a year ago because of
Dozens of pictures show moisture, mold, standing water and worse inside the
condos. The property manager, Joe Garrison says he’s aware of the intense
issues and is continuing to address them.
“We have took steps to take a mold test and our mold test says no health
risk,” Garrison says.
They’ve been trying to look for Ray’s leak, but haven’t been able to locate
it. The next step, according to Garrison, is tearing down the walls but he
says the money isn’t there.
“It’s going to take money and if they want to continue to own the place
every resident owner over there is going to have to pay a special
assessment,” he said.
Currently, Sarai Cruz says she is paying $208 per month in fees, Erica Ray
is paying $305 per month.
But, Garrison says only 60% of the condominium owners are paying their
share, leaving those living with chronic issues to suffer.
“If it was me personally, until we can get the problem fixed I would move
out,” Garrison said.
When you walk into Ray’s apartment the smell of mildew and moisture is
Plexi glass covers a hole already cut out of her wall to show the water
draining from the outside in.
In front of her sliding glass windows are wet towels soaking up any standing
water when it rains.
On the walls and ceiling are obvious water marks from water leaking from an
In the background a dehumidifier runs trying to keep up with the heavy
presence of dampness.
This, Ray says, is why she left. But, she was only able to because other
Royal Crescent condo owners helped her financially.
“They are literally paying for me and my children to be able to live in this
place so we don’t have to be here and risk a chance of me either dying or
getting sick from the mold,” Ray said.
Winter Haven Code Enforcement is involved and has already issued notices to
fix doors, roofing, drainage and other issues around the community.
Garrison, the property manager, says he would like the problems to be
rectified but the H.O.A.’s funds are not there.
Community members are planning to host a meeting at the Quality Inn on
Cypress Garden Boulevard on Friday.
They are hoping to get 80% of the owners to petition to dissolve the current