"This is terrible:" Condemned apartment complex forces tenants to get out

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A handful of families living in a near northside Milwaukee apartment complex are being told they have to go. The city says the 22 unit building is run-down with no working fire alarm system or fire extinguishers. And that's just the start of code and safety violations.

On Monday, December 8th the city condemned the building telling residents it's unlivable. The residents agree, but say it's not their fault -- and a week to move out is not enough time.

Tempers flared Friday afternoon at 5019 N Hopkins Street -- this is where the building that the city says is unsafe. Inside it is easy to see, there are broken fire alarms and busted water pipes.

"This is terrible. This is why we don't have any hot water," said tenant, Kevin Dixon-McNeal.

There are 22 units inside the complex, only 8 are being rented but with front doors that don't lock, residents say anyone from the street can come in and squat night after night.

"Every morning it's people that walk through here that we have to escort to the front door that does not live here," said Dixon-McNeal.

The buildings' maintenance man says that's part of the problem -- residents and non-residents are tearing up the place.

"This is been done in the last day or so since they issued those notices, someone went bananas," said Charlie, the building maintenance man.

But Dixon-McNeal and the other residents say the owners let the conditions of the building slip.

"I believe they allowed it to go under code for a reason, to move us all out and I don't feel like that's fair," said Dixon-McNeal.

Nonetheless, the city says the building isn't up to code so it placed orange signs on everyone's door telling them they have to move -- and now the tenants have 5 days to get out.

"We need more time to move our stuff and we need assistance right now, we really do," Dixon-McNeal said.

Neighborhood services told FOX6 News the landlord contacted the agency, saying the building had some issues.

The city inspector toured the building and determined life-saving systems were all damaged or non-existent and the building should be condemned.

The management group did not want to talk about the building but did tell FOX6 News that all the tenants who paid December rent will get a refund for the first of the month.