San Bernardino tenants forced to leave home due to safety hazards

Low-income residents at a San Bernardino dormitory building are being forced out, despite a yearlong battle with their landlord and the city, after city officials said the owner failed to address a myriad of health and safety concerns. 

After living in the building for nearly two years, Lisa Mendivil said she has "nowhere else to go right now." But, according to San Bernardino officials, the building is such a fire danger that it's like a bomb waiting to explode.

"There are numerous fire dangers," said San Bernardino County Fire Battalion Chief Mike McClintock. "Fire safety is obviously a very big concern. Between non-working fire suppression systems no smoke detectors, blocked hallways and exposed wiring, people need to leave before their lives end up in danger."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Low-income San Bernardino tenants searching for new homes after judge orders building closure

Walking through the hallways, there's trash area. It's filthy. Because of the dangers, the City is ordering people to leave, saying the owner hasn't responded to safety concerns. City spokesperson Jeff Krause says this has been an ongoing battle, and that the building's owner has been hit with a $1,000-a-day fines totaling over $100,000. 

FOX 11 spoke to the owner of the building on the phone. He said he wants to take care of the tenants, even move them to shelters. He said he wants "to shut down the building so I can remodel it."

The city said it's been unable to reach the building's owner, but he said he's spent a lot of money on the building. He blamed the tenants for the disrepair, while the city said "the building speaks for itself."

FOX 11 has been to the building twice now. First in August 2022, when the city first tried to get the building, which used to be a dormitory for a trade school, fixed. 

Meanwhile, Mendivil said "I tried to get a voucher. I didn't qualify for anything."

Now, as the city tries to get people like Mendivil out by Thursday, she said she is still holding out hope someone can help her and her son.