Civil suit in future for owner of apartment building
El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe plans to slap the Mosswood Apartments landlord with a civil suit within 10 days for failing to bring the building up to health and safety codes.
Uthe will seek injunctive relief and damages from Gardnerville resident Tom Lloyd, who’s been under fire since March for allowing his 1031 Moss Road tenants to live in near-squalid conditions.
“We need to do something. This guy just hasn’t responded,” Uthe said.
Working among a task force consisting of representatives from the county, the city of South Lake Tahoe and the newly formed Latino Commission, Uthe feels all other efforts have been exhausted.
The county’s environmental management team and city’s building department performed an inspection July 25, about four months after the tenants’ gas was turned off for non-payment. The city and county surmised Lloyd had barely made a dent in the required repairs.
But Lloyd cried foul of the task force aimed at changing conditions for the Mosswood tenants.
“I’ve done everything they’ve asked me to do. I’m really tired of getting beat on by these people. (The tenants) have trashed this building. This building was a dump when I bought it” 18 months ago, Lloyd said Tuesday.
Lloyd said he’s sent his maintenance man out to work on the building, and he’s hired the Handyman Connection of South Lake Tahoe to make repairs too.
“As far as I know, I’m getting bills from the Handyman Connection, and their supervisor said everything’s repaired,” he said.
Replacing some faucets and a few windows without seals falls far short of what is needed to make the building livable, said Gabriela Inigo of the county health department on Tuesday.
City Building Inspector Ron Ticknor wrote out a list of 25 repairs ranging from missing or loose guardrail pickets on the second floor to a broken glass window in one of the rooms in unit No. 7. The pickets are spaced far enough apart that a child could fall through. About half the units have children residing there.
The tenants in No. 7 said Tuesday the window has been broken for two years and the oven doesn’t work, but the landlord has ignored their complaints. Lloyd said he’s unaware of a problem with the oven.
Dry rot has remained pervasive in some of the apartments, while a bulging ceiling in unit No. 3 shows severe water damage.
Tenants in units Nos. 2, 5 and 8 chose to move out. Others, like Luis Eduardo in unit No. 11, have elected to make their own repairs.
“I’ve got to do it because I like to have the bathroom clean. Who’s going to do it? No one would come to do it,” Eduardo said.
Antonio Lomeli in unit No. 9 is forced to use a bucket to take a bath because the shower doesn’t work, and hot water continuously pours out of the faucet. He said he tried to clean the carpet, but it’s too old and grungy.
Mosswood tenants pay $450 for studios and $650 for two-bedroom apartments.
Uthe will file the civil action for the state, and the court will determine the amount of damages. If Uthe wins a judgment against Lloyd, the money may be allocated to fix the building or pay relocation expenses for the tenants.
“All the hope here is we’re going to see the property up to scale,” Uthe said.
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