Power’s on; no evictions
Once the bill was paid, Avista Utilities restored the gas late Wednesday afternoon to the residents preparing to fire up their stoves for dinner at the Mosswood Apartments in South Lake Tahoe.
This was one in a list of grievances the landlord agreed to rectify with El Dorado County Public Defender Rick Meyer.
Owner Tom Lloyd of Gardnerville sat down with Meyer to hash out concerns the predominantly Hispanic families in the 12-unit complex have shared with city officials and the Family Resource Center.
Director Delicia Spees told some of the residents what Meyer said they may expect from the landlord.
Although the option remains to leave while the units are being worked on in the upcoming months, Lloyd agreed to rescind the temporary eviction notices given to the residents of eight apartments because of health and safety concerns the building department expressed.
Invasive dry rot on the walls, grungy carpeting, unsealed windows, leaky faucets, along with a broken smoke alarm, shower, stove and sliding glass doors represent a way of life for tenants of many of the units.
The landlord, who bought the complex a year ago, also agreed to send his handyman to evaluate each unit and compile a list of all the grievances. According to Meyer, he plans to fix the list of problems, then eventually paint the interior of the structure.
And, he offered a significant savings in rent amounting to about $100 for each bedroom to all the tenants for their inconvenience. Studio apartments rent for $450, and 2-bedroom units rent for $650.
Lloyd, Meyer and Spees plan to sit down today to firm up the plans.
“I am hopeful he is a person of his word and he realizes what he has done and makes good,” Spees said.
A few residents shared cautious optimism as the Avista truck pulled away late Wednesday.
There is a breakdown in trust, in some cases as deep as the water that has leaked from one floor to another.
“I’m happy, sure. Am I satisfied? No,” tenant Nathanael Islas said. “(The landlord is) doing good. But is he going to pay me $3,500 in electronics that screwed up?”
Severe water damage broke Islas’ stereo system. The family described circumstances in which streams of water poured into their first-floor living room from the ceiling. They used many blankets to mop up the mess.
“These were his responsibilities. I’m glad he realized those were his responsibilities, and (that) you just can’t ignore people,” city Councilwoman Brooke Laine said Wednesday night.
Laine characterized the near-squalor conditions and utility cut-off as “unconscionable.”
“That this landlord wasn’t all over it gave the impression he didn’t care,” she said. “This is not acceptable in our community.”
Lloyd explained Tuesday that the dwelling has undergone many improvements and that he fully intends to continue to make more improvements.
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