Saturday, November 17, 2012

Out-Of-State Landlord Facing Foreclosure Tagged With Arrest Warrant Over Building Health/Safety Issues; Court-Ordered Receivership, Demolition Possible As Renters Wallow In Mire, Legal Limbo

In Lynn, Massachusetts, The Daily Item reports:

  • A New York woman faces arrest for failing to appear in District Court to address what a city attorney described as "significant fire concerns" and other problems in the Marianna Street apartment building she owns.

    The building's fire protection system "remains inoperable" and raw sewage in 122-126 Marianna St. is "endangering tenants," according to a city inspection report filed in court.

    "The biggest concern is significant fire concerns; they need to be attended to immediately," said city attorney Vincent Phelan.

    Phelan said Helen Doss, the Utica, N.Y. woman listed in court records as the building's owner, was served with an order last month to address problems in the building outlined in an Oct. 18 city complaint. District Court Judge Stacy Fortes issued a warrant for Doss' arrest last Thursday after she failed to attend a court hearing on a city failing to abate a private health nuisance complaint.

    "She's ignored orders from the Health Department," Phelan said. Attempts to locate and contact Doss on Monday were unsuccessful, but Phelan said Doss received a copy of the city cleanup order in person last month from city inspector Andrew Young.

    City Inspectional Services Department records detail an Oct. 17 complaint about no heat, mice, roaches and "many code issues" in 122-126 Marianna. Inspectors confirmed the complaints that day and a week later when Young outlined 14 violations in a letter listing Doss as the building's trustee.

    In addition to raw sewage, the letter noted missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, hanging and exposed wires, "excessive rodent feces in basement" and no current certificates of inspection for building apartments.

    Code violations carry a $1,000 fine and possible imprisonment, according to Young's letter.

    Phelan and Ward 3 City Councilor Darren Cyr said 122-126 Marianna faces foreclosure, and said the building and its owners are well known to the city.

    "Every few months I've got to call the Health Department because the neighbors call me. It's a blight on the neighborhood," Cyr said.

    He said the city has "several options" for dealing with the building and its problems. The building will be razed if the council passes a demolition order, and the city will take it over and collect rent from the tenants if officials seek court approval to take the property by receivership.

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