Video gives look inside ‘unlivable’ downtown Spokane apartment complex

Video gives look inside ‘unlivable’ downtown Spokane apartment complex

For the first time ever, we’re getting a look inside a troubled apartment building in downtown Spokane. Conditions in the building are so bad, recipients of a state-funded program are being moved out of the building.

Last week, members of the Spokane City Council, a representative of Goodwill and Code Enforcement toured the New Washington apartment building. Goodwill runs the HEN program, which provides rent and aid for those who are homeless or about the be homeless. That representative was so shocked by the apartment’s living conditions that he began the process of moving HEN recipients out of the building.

KXLY obtained video shot by Robert Esseltine, a former resident of the New Washington apartments. In that video you can see cracked linoleum flooring, ceiling tiles that are water damaged or missing and wires hanging from the ceiling. Esseltine also makes the claim that a fridge in the kitchen doesn’t even work.

“I would not recommend it to my worst enemy. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone,” said Esseltine about the building.

Esseltine says he lived at the apartments for two months. He says the conditions inside are something no one should ever have to experience.

“There’s rooms without ceiling tiles. There’s leaks in rooms. In the kitchen, as you’ve seen, there’s no ceiling tiles. They just put those up, they’ve already got rusty leaks from the water heaters,” he said.

He says worst of all, though, are the bed bugs. KXLY has reported that bed bugs in the building have been a problem for years. In a 2016 report revealed by KXLY, the Department of Corrections noted the building appeared to be infested with vermin and bed bugs.

“They’re a scourge and they’re hard to get rid of. They’re not easy to get rid of,” said Esseltine.

We’ve learned more about the issues the city took with the building during their tour. According to the city, Code Enforcement noted concerns about areas lacking sanitary facilities, issues with locks on the doors, issues with hot water and electrical, holes in the floors and a leaky roof. Those concerns have been forwarded to the fire department for follow up.

Even still, aside from building and fire code concerns, the city council says when it comes to landlords providing dilapidated living conditions, the city doesn’t have much recourse.

“Unfortunatley, right now, there’s not a lot we can do. We have to make sure that we are setting the standard here at the city, and I’m noping to look into ways to do that,” said Spokane City Councilwoman Kate Burke.

That’s why Esseltine says it’s tough to see his friends suffer. The New Washington apartments have a long history of housing sex offenders, but Esseltine wants the public to know that’s not everyone that lives there.

“There are good people in there and they just don’t want to be painted with that sex offender broad stroke building thing,” he said.

KXLY has continued to reach out to New Washington apartment management to give them a chance to respond to our reports, but they continue to hang up the phone.