DAVIE, Fla. – A neighbor’s cell phone was recording, and captured the exact moment Alvaro and Jennifer Urquidi’s frustrations began.
The video was recorded on September 13, 2017. Hurricane Irma was churning over South Florida. You could see and hear rain pouring in the footage. Trees swayed in the background.
"Oh, [explitive],” said the neighbor, as a gust of wind separates a portion of the Urquidis’ roof from their condo.
"We haven't had a decent Thanksgiving, we can't invite anyone over, our mailman throws our mail to the front," Jennifer said. A section of the mansard roof above her front door had been left dangling overhead.
"Any moment, it could fall down," said Alvaro. He’d strategically rested the piece of roof onto the family’s balcony where it’s been since the hurricane. The LITL team couldn’t help but notice the tattered blue tarp on the roof.
"Why is not being fixed? That's the question," said Jennifer. "Somebody has to be held accountable. Why is it taking so long?"
"Essentially, they're at the end of their road, and I feel their frustration," said James Miles, president of Consolidated Community Management, which manages the Urquidis; condo association.
He said after the hurricane, insurance claims were filed, bids went out, and Southern Certified was hired to repair the roof over the Urquidis’ unit, as well as the neighboring units.
“”And it was one story right after another," said Miles.
At one point, Miles said the management company made a recommendation to condo association board members to terminate the agreement with Southern Certified and find another roofing contractor.
The board, though, voted to maintain the agreement.
The LITL team learned Southern Certified submitted permit applications to the city of Davie in May, but was rejected. City building officials cited *inadequate plans. The contractor would try, again, in July—twice—but was rejected, twice; the city said an engineer needed to sign off on the plans that were submitted. City building officials also noted concerns with “wind loads.”
We’re told in August, the roofer reapplied, but was unsuccessful. The city said the plans were “incomplete” because they failed to show the placement of trusses that would be used to reroof the building.
With October, came, yet another permit application. Around that same time, the Urquidis encountered another issue.
"My son discovered it,” said Jennifer. “He went, ‘Momma, what is that?’” Jennifer pointed to the corner of her son’s bedroom closet where the drywall had turned black.
"We had the guy come in, he tested it, went to the lab,” she said. Jennifer, Alvaro, their four children, and their two dogs would have to spend 10 days in a hotel while mold was remediated from their home—caused by water leaking from the roof.
The management company, once again, considered its legal options. When we spoke with Miles, he said, “Our attorney is preparing a letter to the board of directors and their insurance company and advising them that they have no alternative but to move this forward, and advise Southern Certified, you either have the permit, you start the job, or we have to move on.”
The LITL team visited Southern Certified, Inc. and asked to speak with someone in management. A man at the front desk wouldn’t give us his name, but did field a few of our questions.
"There's really nothing I can say because we've done all we can to push these permits through," he said. "We're not a fly-by-night company. We've been in business over 30 years, ok? And we have a very good reputation. I don't know what they want.”
He acknowledged there’d been some back and forth with engineers and drawings. When asked about the last time work was done at the Urquidis’ condo, he claimed there were workers on site, at that moment. Following that conversation, the LITL team immediately went by the Urquidis’ condo, to see if those workers were there. As far as we could tell, no one was on the roof, and no work was being done.
City of Davie building officials told the LITL team that the contractor’s October permit applications were ultimately approved, and issued in early November.
A few days later, there was a flutter of activity at the Urquidis’ townhome. Roofing equipment and materials were delivered; workers were up on the roof.
“I want my life back,” Jennifer said.