Landlord comes under fire |

Landlord comes under fire

Robert Stern and Susan Wood

Two days before a debate on where to find affordable housing in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the tenants of the Mosswood Apartments in South Lake Tahoe may find themselves in that situation temporarily.

Of the 12 units at 1031 Moss St., eight families living in near-squalor conditions have been given temporary eviction notices by owner Tom Lloyd of Northern Nevada until their apartments are fixed and up to city building codes. They have until April 1 to move out for 30- to 90-days. The eviction affects units Nos. 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Lloyd said the tenants are paid up until Saturday.

“I don’t really want anybody living in an unhealthy situation,” Lloyd said Tuesday evening.

Tomorrow, Lloyd’s apartment complex may be the epicenter for negotiations between Lloyd, the city and a public defender who’s representing the 12 families including 20 children who live in the run-down building.

Many of the tenants, who are predominantly Hispanic, are living with invasive dry rot on the walls, grungy carpeting, cold air streaming through seal-less windows, and leaky faucets. Some units have a broken smoke alarm, shower, stove or sliding glass door.

The studio apartments rent for $450, and the tenants pay $650 in the 2-bedroom units. The rent includes utilities.

Currently, they have no gas to cook with.

Avista Utilities turned off the gas on all 12 units Monday for non-payment.

“This is symbolic of a lot of apartment complexes in town. This isn’t (due to) misuse or neglect. It’s a health and safety issue at this point. We’ll see what we can do. It’s not their fault. They pay the rent,” city Councilwoman Brooke Laine said Tuesday as she delivered cereal, doughnuts and milk Albertson’s to the families in the complex.

“It’s not by our choice (to turn off the gas). Any customer we have – we’re very lenient with,” Avista South Lake Tahoe Manager Art Slaback said. He said that in most cases utility company officials wait a matter of months before deciding to turn off the gas.

El Dorado County Public Defender Rick Meyers is meeting with owner Tom Lloyd of Gardnerville to try to reach a compromise in getting the gas restored on the 12-unit complex, for starters.

Meyers is hopeful the parties will resolve the situation, as does the owner.

“I tried to call (Avista) all day (Monday). I got no response,” said Lloyd, who bought the building a year ago.

He insisted the structure has come a long way since then.

“That building has improved greatly. When I bought this building, these people were (urinating) in the field next door,” he said.

Some of the units have been cleaned up and repaired. Others were remodeled, he added.

Lloyd said he hasn’t been on site since he bought the structure but plans to make the necessary repairs.

“We lived here a year, and he’s raised the rent on us two times,” No. 4 unit tenant George Casillas said, showing how his sliding glass door doesn’t open.

Emilio Martinez’s slider in unit No.12 not only doesn’t work, there’s a gash in the bottom.

Martinez said when Lloyd’s handyman came out to paint the outside of the building, he urged Martinez to call with repair requests. When he did, Martinez said he received no response.

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