SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – People living in a Santa Rosa apartment complex have been forced to vacate their units after inspectors found a rat infestation and dangerous mold conditions, among other issues. The residents have also filed a lawsuit against their landlords, for refusing to clean up.

Nine families who live at the Bennett Valley Townhomes on Hoen Avenue have been ordered to leave by Tuesday morning.

A notice to vacate placed in front of an apartment unit at the Bennett Valley Townhomes in Santa Rosa, January 20, 2015. (CBS)

A notice to vacate placed in front of an apartment unit at the Bennett Valley Townhomes in Santa Rosa, January 20, 2015. (CBS)

Tenants said they have been complaining about rat infestations for years. Tests performed by the city showed dangerous levels of mold in all of the building’s 10 units. Other issues include broken windows, leaky roofs and heating issues.

The families who lived there were packing up their belongings Tuesday morning. While they are prepared to fight back against the property owners, they don’t have any living options at all.

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“We’re trying to find new homes, so far we don’t have any,” 11-year-old Kenia Lopez Chavez told KPIX 5.

Janet Sanchez, who also lived at the apartments, said “There’s a lot of mold and I have my little sister, she has asthma and it got worse when we got here because of that and there’s rats and its not a good condition to live in.”

Lawyers for the tenants told them to stop paying rent, hoping to force the landlords to fix the problems. The lawsuit seeks damages, saying the tenants’ physical illnesses and emotional distresses are directly linked to unsafe living conditions.

Property managers refused to comment to KPIX 5 on Tuesday.

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