From the outside, an apartment building on a north side commercial corridor looks unlike any other. But a look inside reveals shocking conditions.
Shakeen Aslam, a tenant of the building at 2727 W. Devon Ave., said he stopping paying rent to the landlord because things were so deplorable; rotting ceilings, jerry-rigged and exposed wiring, and electric meters rusting from the water that had been leaking on them from above.
"All these pipes and high-voltage electrical cables, they are all crammed into enclosures," he said Wednesday.
Upstairs, Aslam showed apartments with water leaking from broken pipes, rodent droppings everywhere, and black mold growing in and on the walls covered by wallpaper. He said it was management's attempt to simply hide the problem.
Another resident, Sekhar Maturi, showed how his apartment is infested by roaches and bedbugs.
"My goodness, [it's] unbelievable. After midnight, 2 o'clock, we cannot sleep," said Maturi.
Residents said they've complained repeatedly to the landlord, but those complaints have evidently fallen on deaf ears.
City inspectors visited the building in December and cited the landlord with more than 30 violations, although it appears inspectors never saw the mold or the conditions in the basement.
Still, despite having photos documenting the mold and the shocking state of the building, a judge ordered Aslam evicted when he went to housing court earlier this month.
"These people are criminals. They need to be prosecuted," he cried. "There are small kids, families, senior citizens. In case of fire they will not be able to even jump to their death. This is completely horrible."
The Department of Buildings has called the landlord in for a hearing in mid-March.