Sunrise Towers fails apartment inspections, ordered to get up to code

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein

Some apartments at Sunrise Towers in Fort Myers did not pass inspection Wednesday. We’ve reported on problems inside at the complex for years.

The inspection acts as a sign of hope for some living there. After dealing with problems for a long time, the City of Fort Myers ordered the owners of Sunrise Towers to fix everything and fast.

Chronic problems at the apartments are almost impossible to miss, including rats, mold and leaks under the roof.

According to a City inspection, the owners of Sunrise Towers are responsible.

“If you turn off the AC, mold will back up, and you will smell it,” resident Asia Alston said. “Like, it goes on furniture, It goes on my clothes, my shoes. We’re constantly throwing away stuff.”

Those living at the complex, including Alston, want better living conditions at their homes. Now, the Housing Authority of Fort Myers demands it.

“They’re not passing housing quality standards,” said Marcia Davis, the executive director of the housing authority.

The owners of the complex have 30 days to bring everything up to code, or they will no longer let people who use government vouchers live here.

“We will reach out to the residents and to try to see what we can do to assist and help and if they want to move or relocate,” Davis said. “We’re certainly here to help in that transition.”

Attorney Sawyer Smith represents Sunrise Towers. He promised the issues will be fixed by the next time the inspectors visit, but he told me he believes the housing authority is targeting his client.

“Once everything is to their satisfaction, which will never really be possible, but once it is, we’ll hire our own inspector to go through there, much like they did,” Sawyer said. “And if they continue these shenanigans, we’ll do what we do, which is sue them and make sure this type of stuff that they like to pull never happens again.”

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