TEMPLE HILLS, Md.
After years of problems, unsafe conditions could shut down a Prince George's County condominium community for good.
Prince George's County fire officials will force residents to vacate Lynnhill Condominiums this week if it doesn't meet fire codes by Tuesday morning. The community is on Good Hope Avenue.
On Monday, FOX 5 found disgusting conditions inside the buildings, including gaping holes in the ceiling, standing water, piles of trash, an abandoned toilet and a strong odor in hallways.
Residents complained of mice, rats and flies.
Fire officials say there are currently about 100 people living at Lynnhill. But most of the units are abandoned and squatters have been an issue.
The majority of residents left in October when utilities were shut off after management got a million dollars behind on bills. While the state ordered utilities to be turned back on at that time, a Pepco spokesman says the Maryland Public Service Commission has authorized gas and electric to be shut off for good. Residents must be given a 30 day warning first.
Because conditions are so bad, many still in the complex have stopped paying rent.
"It's hard. This was, like, perfect because the rent was perfect, we could manage a little bit," said Denise Richards who lives with her 93-year-old mother and grandkids.
Richards says they've been trying unsuccessfully to buy a house to get away not only from horrible conditions, but violence
"Some guy started shooting, shot out the balcony doors," Richards said. "Just kind of had to scoot the kids in the hallway, just down in here, and my mom hit the floor."
The family has bags packed and they're ready to leave if they have to.
"We're just praying and asking the Lord to send us something we can afford to be in while we continue to look for a house," Richards said.
The fire department says to be up to code, there needs to be working fire alarms, trash and combustibles removed and operational fire doors. The inspection is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday and if the buildings aren't up to code, people will have 24 hours to vacate.
FOX 5 spoke to a man in the management office who wouldn't give his name. He says they are working to sell the property, but nothing has been finalized yet.