• 9 Investigates: Efforts underway to get owner to clean up Seminole County motel


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates reporter Karla Ray found trash, standing water and pests crawling in a local motel. Now steps are being taken to force the owner to clean up the property.

    A code enforcement investigation has been opened into the Royal Inn on State Road 46 near Interstate 4 in Sanford.
    Ray learned that many people staying in the hotel have nowhere else to go.
    Law enforcement investigators told Ray that they have been to the motel 900 times in the last two years for things like prostitution and drugs. They also said the motel is dirty, and they are hoping that code enforcement violations and the threat of fines will force the owner to clean it up.
    Ray said from the outside she could see boarded up windows, trash and a broken-down golf cart. She said inside the Royal Inn she saw mold, roaches and bed bugs.
    "Drug dealers, prostitutes -- they got rid of all of them, but the filth, the roaches, the fleas, the bed bugs  -- you name it, we have them," said one woman who said she has lived in the motel for more than three years.
    The woman told Ray that she can't save enough money to pay a deposit on a real apartment.
    Another woman, who has children, told Ray she pays $1,200 a month to live at the Royal Inn.
    "Would you call the people who run this hotel slum lords?" Ray asked the woman.
    "Yes I would, because that's what they are. They don't want to fix this place up," the woman said.
    Code enforcement officers said there are a number of problems with the motel.
    "We're seeing broken pipes under the hotel structure itself that's causing a tremendous amount of water to come under the building," said Heather Smith, with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.
    Ray found many of the doors at the motel won't close all the way.
    The Sheriff's Office, Code Enforcement, Department of Health and fire marshal are teaming up in an effort to force the owner to clean up the property. Investigators said he did not show up for his code enforcement hearing.
    Officials said the owner has two weeks to come into compliance or face fines.

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