LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Tenants of a rundown home infested with rats, mosquitos and cockroaches and lacking in heat or electricity are accusing of Fannie Mae of being a slumlord.
Three families, with a total of 11 children, live in a house south of downtown Los Angeles that came into the possession of the government-backed mortgage lender in September.
The house was in dire straits by the time it came into Fannie Mae’s hands. Broken windows have been patched with torn cardboard and duct tape, a hole in the bathroom floor gives entry to rats and black mold lines the bathroom ceiling. The home has no heater, has been without electricity since July and the water heater leaks and often doesn’t work. Mosquitos and cockroaches also infest the home.
The tenants have been paying more than $2,000 in rent, unaware that the previous owner was pocketing the money and left an $18,000 electric bill.
The home has been owned by Fannie Mae for five months, but the tenants say they haven’t paid the electric bill or repaired any of the problems in the home.
“Fannie Mae owns hundreds of properties in the city of Los Angeles,” community organizer Paulina Gonzalez said. “Many of those, including a list I have of dozens, are in the city slumhousing program.”
Fannie Mae told CBS2/KCAL9’s Randy Paige that they didn’t have a representative in Los Angeles available to speak to him about this home. But a spokesman in Washington D.C. said representatives have been to the location and found secure fences and locked doors. After leaving messages at the home, they concluded no one lived there.
Heidi Clemente, who lives at the home with her 6 children, told Paige that was a lie.
“The tenants have been asking to meet with them, have called on several occasions,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve called on their behalf, and Fannie Mae has been unresponsive.”
Now that they’re aware three families live in the home, Fannie Mae says they will act swiftly to make the home habitable.