Mayor: two properties condemned this week

The City of La Porte condemned two unsafe properties this week, Mayor Tom Dermody and Director of Code Enforcement Jeff Batchelor announced Friday.

Batchelor said he and Dan Drake, code enforcement officer, inspected the rental properties at 207 Grove St. and 701 Maple Ave. and identified various safety and sanitation issues at each location, including construction and electrical problems, water damage and vermin infestation. He and Dermody are working hard to rid the city of dangerous living conditions like the ones found at these locations, he said.

“The mayor has made it clear that this administration will not tolerate unsafe living conditions in La Porte’s rental properties,” Batchelor said. “Our fight is not with local landlords – it is with the dangerous conditions in their rental units. Our residents deserve a safe place to call home, and we will continue our efforts to ensure this is the case.”

Dermody said the city is working with Center Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski to find temporary housing for tenants.

“Our hope is that the landlords will correct these issues and the tenants can return once units are fixed and cleaned,” Dermody said. “We need affordable housing in our city, but these conditions are unacceptable. We are creating a new standard for living in La Porte, and we expect all rental properties to meet that standard.”

The Grove Street property must be vacated within 60 days, and the Maple Avenue property must be vacated within 180 days. If all defects are remedied and the buildings passes city inspection, the units can be rented again, Batchelor said.

The official condemnation of 207 Grove St. reads as follows:

A CONDEMNATION OF 207 GROVE STREET, LA PORTE, INDIANA
BECAUSE THE PROPERTY IS UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION AS
DECLARED BY THE CITY OF LA PORTE
Whereas, the City of LaPorte (“La Porte”) condemns 207 Grove Street,
La Porte, Indiana because the dwelling is unfit for human habitation and is
so designated by the City of La Porte pursuant to La Porte Municipal Code §
10-266, et seq., and IND. CODE § 16-41-20-1, et seq.,
Whereas, the City of La Porte finds 207 Grove Street, La Porte,
Indiana is unfit for human habitation because the dwelling is dangerous and
detrimental to life and health because of lack of repair, defects in the
drainage, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, and construction, and the existence
of unsanitary conditions; and
Whereas, the City of La Porte further finds 207 Grove Street, La Porte,
Indiana, should be condemned as unfit for human habitation because the
property is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe and
vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of
the occupants or the public and is a fire hazard, threatening damage to
human life or to neighboring property; lacks illumination, ventilation or
sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the
occupants, and the dwelling’s general condition or location is unsanitary, a
fire hazard, and is otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the
occupants or of the public.
Now, therefore, the City of La Porte, though its Code Enforcement
Officer, Jeff Batchelor, makes the following findings regarding 207 Grove
Street, La Porte, Indiana, after inspecting the property on May 28, 2020, as
it is unfit for human habitation:
1. The foundation has cracks in it, is missing mortar and loose bricks in
the southwest corner and west side of the building.
2. There is a hole in the living room floor.
3. Electric outlets do not work throughout the house.
4. The water heater in not up to code, the pressure valve on the water
heater is not installed correctly and it is the wrong length.
5. Numerous electrical issues in the basement including no covers on
outlets and exposed wires.
6. There is water in the basement caused by no gutters on the house.
7. There is a loose electrical outlet in kitchen.
8. There is water damage in the living room and kitchen which has
caused peeling paint.
9. Extension cords are in the kitchen, bathroom, and basement. No
major appliances shall use extension cords for power.
10.There is significant paint peeling on the outside of the house.
11.There is no cover over lights in the bathroom.

THEREFORE:
1. All apartment units in 207 Grove Street, La Porte, Indiana shall be
vacated by all persons within sixty (60) days of this Order.
2. A placard will be placed on the entrances to the dwelling at 207 Grove
Street, La Porte, Indiana identifying that the property has been
condemned.
3. No person shall deface or remove the condemnation placard from the
dwelling. Removing or defacing the condemnation placard may result
in a fine of $250.00.
4. 207 Grove Street, La Porte, Indiana may only be used for human
habitation upon successfully removing all defects upon which the
condemnation was based and after review and inspection by the City of
La Porte of all units in 207 Grove Street.

 

The official condemnation of 701 Maple Ave. reads as follows:

A CONDEMNATION OF 701 MAPLE AVENUE, LA PORTE, INDIANA
BECAUSE THE PROPERTY IS UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION AS
DECLARED BY THE CITY OF LA PORTE
Whereas, the City of LaPorte (“La Porte”) condemns 701 Maple
Avenue, La Porte, Indiana because the dwelling is unfit for human habitation
and is so designated by the City of La Porte pursuant to La Porte Municipal
Code § 10-266, et seq., and IND. CODE § 16-41-20-1, et seq.,
Whereas, the City of La Porte finds 701 Maple Avenue, La Porte,
Indiana is unfit for human habitation because the dwelling is dangerous and
detrimental to life and health because of lack of repair, defects in the
drainage, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, and construction, and the existence
of unsanitary conditions; and
Whereas, the City of La Porte further finds 701 Maple Avenue, La
Porte, Indiana, should be condemned as unfit for human habitation because
the property is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe and
vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of
the occupants or the public and is a fire hazard, threatening damage to
human life or to neighboring property; lacks illumination, ventilation or
sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the
occupants, and the dwelling’s general condition or location is unsanitary, a
fire hazard, and is otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the
occupants or of the public.
Now, therefore, the City of La Porte makes the following findings
regarding 701 Maple Avenue, La Porte, Indiana as it is unfit for human
habitation:
603.1.5 Access.
The installation shall be readily accessible for cleaning hot surfaces;
removing burners; replacing motors, controls, air filters, chimney connectors,
draft regulators, and other working parts; and for adjusting, cleaning and
lubricating parts.
The incoming gas installation is obstructed by a parked motorcycle and tall
vegetation.
907.2.10.1.2 Groups R-2, R-3, R-4 and I-1.
Single-or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained in
Groups R-2, R-3, R-4 and I-1 regardless of occupant load at all of the
following locations: 1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping
area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.; 2. In each room used for sleeping
purposes.; 3. In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements but
not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. In dwellings or dwelling
units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent
levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the
adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story
below the upper level.
None of the units that access was available to had a working smoke detector.
603.7 Discontinuing operation of unsafe heating appliance
The fire code official is authorized to order that measures be taken to prevent
the operation of any existing stove, oven, furnace, incinerator, boiler or any
other heat-producing device or appliance found to be defective or in violation
of code requirements for existing appliances after giving notice to this effect
to any person, owner, firm or agent or operator in charge of the same. The
fire code official is authorized to take measures to prevent the operation of
any device or appliance without notice when inspection shows the existence of
an immediate fire hazard or when imperiling human life. The defective device
shall remain withdrawn from service until all necessary repairs or alterations
have been made.
Many of the apartment units did not have properly functioning heating units.
603.6.5 Connectors
Existing chimney and vent connectors that are damaged, corroded or
improperly supported shall be repaired or replaced.
The dryer vent system exit screen was filled with debris and shall be cleaned
on a regular basis.
901.6 Inspection, testing and maintenance.
Fire detection, alarm and extinguishing systems shall be maintained in an
operative condition at all times, and shall be replaced or repaired where
defective. Nonrequired fire protection systems and equipment shall be
inspected, tested and maintained or removed.
The records for the testing of the fire detecting system could not be located on
site.
101.2 Scope.
This code establishes regulations affecting or relating to structures,
processes, premises and safeguards regarding: 1. The hazard of fire and
explosion arising from the storage, handling or use of structures, materials or
devices; 2. Conditions hazardous to life, property or public welfare in the
occupancy of structures or premises; 3. Fire hazards in the structure or on
the premises from occupancy or operation; 4. Matters related to the
construction, extension, repair, alteration or removal of fire suppression or
alarm systems.
A small fire occurred in an apartment. Some damage occurred during the
fire. Necessary repairs were not completed after the fire. The complete scope
of the repairs was not able to be noted at the time.
On June 1, 2020, and June 25, 2020, Jeff Batchelor, City of La Porte Code
Enforcement Director, made the following observations and findings:
Apartment 1
A substance appearing to be black mold in closet and under sink in kitchen.
The City was unable to test the substance to verify it was mold. This
substance must be remediated from the apartment.
Apartment 10
1. Loose sink with leaks under it.
2. Extension cords throughout the apartment and connected to kitchen
appliances. Large appliances should not be connected to extension
cords.
3. The ceiling in the bathroom has a substance appearing to be black
mold in closet and under sink in kitchen. The City was unable to test
the substance to verify it was mold. This substance must be
remediated from the apartment.
4. The toilet was loose and was leaking.
Laundry room
1. Extension cords were used to connect appliances in the laundry room.
Large appliances should not be connected to extension cords.
2. Electrical outlets were missing covers
3. Owner needs to add a vent system to flow in an upward direction not
in a downward direction.
Apartment 112
The smoke alarm does not work.
Apartment 110
1. The ceiling is falling down in the bathroom.
2. The sink in the kitchen leaking.
3. Roaches were present in the bathroom.
Apartment 203
1. No smoke alarm present in the apartment.
Apartment 305
1. A substance appearing to be mold in the front of the living room in the
corner. The City was unable to test the substance to verify it was
mold. This substance must be remediated from the apartment.
2. A substance appearing to be mold in the utility room before the
bathroom. The City was unable to test the substance to verify it was
mold. This substance must be remediated from the apartment.
3. The light fixture in the kitchen was loose.
Top Floor Apartment Unit
1. Two (2) dogs running free in the apartment.
2. Standing greenish/grayish water on the roof.
3. Feces throughout the roof.
4. Trees growing on the roof and debris
5. Standing water on the roof is a breeding ground for insects and larvae.
Apartment 12
1. A substance appearing to be white fury mold growing under bed.
2. A substance appearing to be green mold under a separate bed.
3. A substance appearing to be black mold in the kitchen under the
kitchen taken in the corner of the wall.
4. A substance appearing to be mold under sink in kitchen and bathroom.
5. A substance appearing to be mold behind the couch on the wall.
6. A substance appearing mold behind pipes in kitchen.
7. The pipes are leaking in the bathroom ceiling.
8. It does not appear the heating system is working or sufficient for the
apartment unit.
Additionally, Mr. Batchelor states there are 46 apartment units in 701 Maple
Ave. He was not able to inspect each apartment. Each apartment inspected
by Mr. Batchelor had identified code violations.
THEREFORE:
1. All apartment units in 701 Maple, La Porte, Indiana shall be vacated
by all persons within one hundred and eighty (180) days of this Order.
2. A placard will be placed on the entrances to the dwelling at 701 Maple,
La Porte, Indiana identifying that the property has been condemned.
3. No person shall deface or remove the condemnation placard from the
dwelling. Removing or defacing the condemnation placard may result
in a fine of $250.00.
4. 701 Maple, La Porte, Indiana may only be used for human habitation
upon successfully removing all defects upon which the condemnation
was based and after r

2 Responses to “Mayor: two properties condemned this week”

  1. Andrew Serafin

    Jun 27. 2020

    A good first start

    Reply to this comment
    • Annalise

      Jul 02. 2020

      Thank you to our mayor for his action! This is unfortunate people have had to live in such conditions….please do not let our town start hosting “tent cities” like what South Bend is seeing. Affordable housing is important but tenants & landlord must treat the places with respect.

      Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply