This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. urged U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sec. Marcia Fudge to take immediate action to ensure safe and sanitary living conditions at several properties throughout the state of Florida being managed by Cambridge Management Inc. under the Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance program.
In May, Rubio sent a letter to Fudge requesting immediate action to improve the living conditions for constituents living at Hilltop Village Apartments, a Cambridge Management property, in Jacksonville. Since then, Rubio’s office found that, in addition to Hilltop Village Apartments, Cambridge Management, Inc. is responsible for the management of seven other properties that have failing Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspection scores throughout the State of Florida in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program.
Rubio’s letter is below.
Dear Secretary Fudge:
I write to direct your attention to the mismanagement of properties by Cambridge Management, Inc. in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
As I wrote to you on May 4, 2021, my office received direct outreach from constituents who are tenants at Hilltop Village Apartments in Jacksonville, Florida, which is contractually managed by Cambridge Management, Inc. When my staff visited, they found disturbing evidence of chronic administrative neglect, including a severe rodent infestation and chronic garbage overflow throughout the property. I also expressed concern that this property had not undergone its mandatory Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspection since December 2, 2015, which appears to violate HUD’s Uniform Physical Condition Standards that clearly state this property should have received an inspection within two years. While a REAC inspection was performed on May 11, 2021, it was unacceptable that the residents of Hilltop Village Apartments were obligated to live under these conditions, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the results of this inspection have not been provided to my staff.
In addition to Hilltop Village Apartments, Cambridge Management, Inc. is responsible for the management of seven other properties that have failing REAC inspection scores throughout the State of Florida in the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program. These properties include:
- Silver Oaks Apartments in Tampa, Florida with a failing score of 40/100 on March 6, 2020.
- Lincoln Fields Apartments in Miami, Florida with a failing score of 44/100 on March 6, 2020.
- BCC Apartments in Miami, Florida with a failing score of 45/100 on March 10, 2020.
- Gadsden Arms Apartments in Quincy, Florida with a failing score of 47/100 on December 11, 2019.
- Pembroke Tower Apartments in Pembroke Pines, Florida with a failing score of 53/100 on October 17, 2018.
- Jackson Heights in Tampa, Florida with a failing score of 55/100 on August 10, 2019.
- Emerald Place Apartments in Titusville, Florida with a failing score of 57/100 on December 20, 2019.
Furthermore, Pembroke Tower Apartments was most recently inspected on October 17, 2018. This appears to violate HUD’s Uniform Physical Condition Standards for failing properties, which requires inspections to be performed within one year. While inspections were delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic until June 1, 2021, this property should have been inspected months prior to the pandemic.
Over the last two years, HUD has provided more than $17.5 million in federal financial assistance to the seven aforementioned properties. Last month, my staff visited all of these properties and saw conditions that are unsafe and unsanitary, including chronic garbage overflow and general disrepair at Gadsden Arms Apartments.
I urge that immediate action be taken at these properties to ensure that tenants are afforded the living conditions they are guaranteed by law. This would include both new REAC inspections, and Management and Occupancy Reviews (MOR) for all properties managed by Cambridge Management, Inc. throughout the State of Florida, and the enforcement of any applicable penalties, with priority given to safety and sanitation concerns.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with you to protect the people and families of Florida.