WACO, TX — Tenants living in The Village apartments in Waco reached out to 25 Investigates last week concerned about deplorable living conditions.
One tenant we spoke with told us he had been dealing with rats, roaches and mold the last 20 years. However, it was the newest concern that had him upset with the new property manager: unexplained charges and threats.
"You owe me x amount of dollars, and you don't have that money. If you don't do it, you're out" he said, referring to the manager.
We asked him if he ever approached her about the newest round of phantom charges.
"Tried to approach her", he replied. "She wouldn't talk. She won't tell ya nothing...she won't even talk to you."
When 25 Investigates tried to speak to the manager, she refused to go on camera. So, we took the tenant's complaints to the company that manages the Villages, Preservation Management Inc. and their Regional Vice President, Michele Folino.
"I don't want anybody that's not happy in their unit. I want to do what I can to make them happy," she told us on the phone.
It's been almost nine months since Preservation Management took over The Village apartments, but tenants say they haven’t inspected the property thoroughly.
To that, one tenant said, "I would ask them why don't they come down and just take a look...cause they're not really aware of what's going on."
After Preservation Management saw our initial story, they showed up to the property in Waco two days later. However, 25 Investigates wasn’t allowed to capture one-on-one interviews Folino had with the tenants. But afterwards, tenants like Thomas Henry still had concerns.
"I got a gap up under my front door. Since I put some blockage there, keeping them little rats out...cause it's about an inch. And I've been begging for them to put that weather strip up there, so far they hollering well we ain't got the money, we ain't got this, we ain't got that. So, I had to put foam, I had to put the stick up against it at night because I don't know what gonna craw up under that door."
Although Folino wouldn't do an interview with 25 Investigates on camera, she told us, "I'm going to understand what their problems are in their units because clearly we've not done something in the office to communicate well with them. I'm going to solve their problems today while I'm here."
To at least one tenant, a 69-year-old retiree, a new manager couldn't come any faster.
"New management don't mean nothing...that don't mean a hill of beans. It's just no good...she needs to be gone," he said.