CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Residents at Gadsden Green Apartments have filed a lawsuit against the Charleston Housing Authority over what they call deplorable living conditions at the low-income public housing complex.
The housing authority says its mission is to provide decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing to low and moderate-income citizens of the City of Charleston.
The 10 tenants listed in the lawsuit signed their various lease agreements to rent apartments at Gadsden Green between 2008 and 2023 and have since reported experiencing myriad issues within their units.
In a court filing last month, the tenants said they are seeking legal recourse for the poor living conditions allegedly caused by rat infestation, improperly maintained electrical systems, and persistent water leakage causing significant mold and mildew growth.
“The tenants have endured these problems for an extended period, resulting in several harms, including emotional distress, astronomically high electricity bills, and displacement from their homes,” the filing stated.
Tenants said the issues have significantly impacted the habitability of their apartments and caused financial loss, and emotional distress.
They said the housing authority has failed to properly address the infestations. Tenants also said that because of the poorly maintained and outdated electric systems, they have been financially burdened with electricity bills which are abnormally high. And have been forced to limit use of electricity inside their apartments because of faulty or outdated system.
“Wall outlets in some apartment homes would, without any manipulation whatsoever, shoot electrical sparks. Such sparks resulted in a small fire in at least one of the Plaintiffs’ apartment homes. The random firing of electrical sparks may also be due to rats chewing on the wires. Regardless of the cause, such a phenomenon creates a serious fire hazard,” the filing said.
In one instance, a plaintiff said his home underwent heat treatment for bed bugs in August 2022. Shortly after treatment, the man – who is legally blind – felt bed bugs crawling on his face after air from a vent in his apartment home started blowing the vermin from inside the duct onto him.
He said it was the fourth time his home had been treated for bed bugs since he became a resident.
Two other tenants in another unit said their apartment experienced severe water leakage in February 2023 that caused a ceiling to cave. “The water leak caused extensive damage” to their furniture and were not reimbursed for the damage done to their property.
The plaintiffs are requesting a jury trial and hope to be awarded damages connected to allegations named in the lawsuit, along with attorney fees and other costs.
When asked for comment, the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston said it “will not make any comment on pending litigation.”