Marco Rubio Calls on HUD to Focus on Tampa Apartments, Hold Cambridge Management Accountable

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sec. Marcia Fudge regarding unsafe and unsanitary conditions at several properties throughout the state of Florida being managed by Cambridge Management, Inc. under the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program.

Rubio first called attention to Cambridge Management’s mismanagement of HUD properties in May 2021. This letter follows reports from constituents about the deplorable conditions at Tampa’s Silver Oaks Apartments, which is managed by Cambridge.

The letter is below.

Dear Secretary Fudge:

I write to direct your attention to the dangerous and unsanitary conditions that many of my constituents have faced due to Cambridge Management, Inc.’s disgraceful mismanagement of numerous Florida properties that participate in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program. In recent days, I have heard from constituents about the deplorable conditions at Silver Oaks Apartments, a Cambridge Management property in Tampa, Florida. No Floridian should be subjected to these sorts of conditions, least of all in properties subsidized by taxpayer dollars. I urge the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to re-inspect the Silver Oaks Apartments, take action to hold Cambridge Management accountable, and ensure that residents are afforded safe and sanitary conditions.

After hearing about the unacceptable conditions at the property, my staff visited the Silver Oaks Apartments on April 14, 2022 and found that every unit that they visited had an infestation of roaches and rats. My staff also witnessed social workers from a local elementary school handing out bleach and other cleaning supplies to the tenants because many of their students are often sick and have to receive wellness checks on a regular basis. Some Silver Oaks Apartments residents communicated that their units had not received repairs or updates since at least 2017, and others have had to resort to sleeping in their car at night. Tenants often have to go to the hospital due to the unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the property.

Of further concern, the day after my staff visited, on April 15th, Silver Oaks tenants received a concerning “Notice of Housekeeping Inspection.” The notice stated that management would inspect units, with the first inspections taking place April 19-21, 2022 and that “housekeeping efforts must be at an acceptable safe and sanitary condition or termination of tenancy will be issued.” Residents have voiced fear of retaliation by the property manager for reporting the true conditions of the facility to my staff and local media outlets.

This would be concerning enough if it was an isolated incident, but it is not. In May 2021, I wrote to you detailing the severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow that my constituents have suffered through, and my staff witnessed, at Hilltop Village Apartments, a Cambridge Management property. I requested an immediate Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspection, a Management and Occupancy Review (MOR), and remediation and enforcement measures—stressing HUD’s failure to meet the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) inspection timeframe.

The City of Jacksonville inspected Hilltop Village Apartments on May 5, 2021 and found 286 violations. HUD also conducted a REAC inspection on May 12, 2021 and gave the apartments a score of 61c/100, indicating potentially life-threatening conditions. Ownership and management were subjected to thousands of dollars in civil penalties. Given the widespread presence of insect and rodent infestations, chronic mold, broken appliances, and general despair at the property, I wrote to you in August 2021 to request a reform of UPCS inspections, a reform of MORs, a follow-up inspection of Hilltop, and that directly affected Hilltop tenants be safely relocated.

In June 2021, I wrote to you to highlight the unsafe, unsanitary conditions at seven other Cambridge-managed properties with failing REAC scores, including Silver Oaks Apartments. I also requested REAC inspections, MORs, and enforcement measures for all Florida properties managed by Cambridge Management. HUD conducted new REAC inspections at each of the properties and found that one property continued to fail its inspections and six were still operating under potentially life-threatening conditions. Silver Oaks Apartments has a score of 66c/100, which is barely passing and indicates potentially life-threatening conditions.

Cambridge Management’s history of mismanagement and negligence is well-documented in the State of Florida, and my constituents at the Silver Oaks Apartments are once again bearing the consequences. As such, I urge you to:

Conduct a new, timely REAC inspection of Silver Oaks Apartments;

Conduct a new, timely MOR of Silver Oaks Apartment;

Provide my office with the additional steps that HUD will take to ensure that Silver Oaks Apartments residents are no longer subjected to the present health and safety issues that endanger their lives, including any new remediation requirements and/or civil penalties that it will impose on Cambridge Management; and

Provide my office with the status of remediation requirements and/or civil penalties that HUD has imposed on Cambridge Management due to its mismanagement of Jackson Heights apartments in Tampa, Florida, a property that has failed two consecutive REAC inspections.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to receiving your prompt response to meet the urgent needs of Floridians affected by Cambridge Management’s mismanagement. My staff will continue to monitor Cambridge Management properties and keep in contact with the Department to ensure decent, safe, and sanitary housing for Floridians.

Share this story on Facebook or Twitter or Send in a Text Message::