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City boards up duplex for second time after tenant makes complaint

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Two families living in a duplex on the city's south side say they're now homeless after being duped by their landlord. Even after they paid rent, tenants found out the home was previously boarded up -- and now, they're being told they've got to go!

It was a scramble at the home all day Monday, September 16th as two families discovered they had just hours to pack up and leave their home.

"There`s holes in the floor, mold on every baseboard, animals, spiders, pests. I`ve seen things I`ve never seen. I`m like, I seen maggots yesterday," Mellissa Ericson said.

Much like her home, Ericson's life is in shambles. She says her home is making her sick.

I've been like stomach flu sick -- throwing up daily," Ericson said.

Ericson and her upstairs neighbor, Tiffany Ramos claim they asked the landlord to make repairs ever since moving in this summer.

There`s mice, there`s mold. It stinks so bad. This is not a place somebody should be living  -- especially with two kids. I was here for like three weeks before I could use a toilet. I've been asking her for a furnace. She hasn't put them in. We've been waiting on a smoke detector," Ramos said.

When the repairs weren't made, Ericson called the city, and an inspector went through the property. He found a myriad of violations including uncapped gas lines and improper wiring. Additionally, the building is structurally unsound because of fire damage.

However, it is what you cannot see that is even more concerning. The strong stench of mold is stifling, and water heaters were emitting carbon monoxide.

"I've been sick. I've had to go to the hospital. I'm overwhelmed," Ericson said.

The property had recently been boarded up -- called uninhabitable by the city, but a new owner came in and tried to fix the place, but the inspector says it was shoddy work, done without a permit, and it put lives in jeopardy.

Now, the home is being boarded up again.

"I don't even know where to go. I don't have family like that out here. There's no room for me and my two kids," Ramos said.

FOX6 News spoke with the landlord, who claimed to be unaware of issues needing repair, even though residents say they had repeatedly contacted her.

City inspectors say she did not show up at the home on Monday as requested by the city.