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Photos: Inside a Slumlord's Empire

Cockroaches, mold, plywood where there should be window panes – the photos of one San Diego slumlord’s properties tell the story of residents’ misfortune.

A joint investigation by Voice of San Diego and KPBS found one local landlord, Bankim Shah, had more than 60 complaints filed against him since 2001 by residents, neighbors and city staff.

The dwellings he managed were riddled with gas leaks, sewage backups, mold and armies of roaches, “enough to carry the whole house away,” as one attorney put it.

Describing the disasters inside the homes of San Diegans who rented from Shah only goes so far. The photos speak for themselves. Below are shots that were shared with reporter Megan Burks as she dug into one slumlord’s trail of housing disasters.

Shower Head

A large hole is shown between resident Sherry Godat’s apartment and the unit below hers. // Photo by anonymous tenant

 

Cockroach

Cockroaches in a child’s cereal bowl. // Photo by Sherry Godat

 

Plywood

Sherry Godat shows the plywood board in her window frame. Bankim Shah promised to replace the missing window before she moved in. A friend installed the plywood after months had passed with no repairs. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Damp Apartment

Abraham Rojas, pictured here in December, finds dampness in his apartment wall. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Spider Bite

A photo shows spider bites on Rosa Bergara’s hand. Bergara says she and her 12-year-old daughter occasionally wake up with insect bites. In the background, a photo shows dead cockroaches Bergara found when she pulled her clock off the wall. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Cold Water

Attorney Marc Whitman, pictured here in December, demonstrates the lack of hot water in Abraham Rojas and Rosa Bergara’s apartment. Whitman ran the faucet for 10 minutes in the middle of a weekday afternoon and the water didn’t warm up. The apartment complex has one hot water heater for eight units. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 5.10.58 PM

Sherry Godat says water streams from this hole in her ceiling every time it rains. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Karina_Mold

Karina Villanueva shows a photo of mold above her shower. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

Slide1

 Abraham Rojas shows that a hole beneath his sink leads outside. // Photo by Brian Myers, Media Arts Center San Diego

 

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