PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A member of the tenant council at Penn Plaza Apartments in East Liberty believes the death of a man at the complex this week underscores a problem with maintenance and security.
The 300-unit apartment complex appears to have cut back on both, and earlier this summer, the owners of the property began sending out eviction notices to some of the tenants.
“The man lay inside his apartment for seven or eight days, by the door, and where was security at? Why didn’t security officials walk the halls and report any foul odor to management?” said resident Gayle Williams.
Penn Plaza owners sent out 90-day eviction notices to some tenants several months ago, but then they rescinded the notices after Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s office got involved.
New eviction notices, for the time being, are not being sent out.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed the man’s death. They said there appeared to be nothing suspicious about it, but because the body was in the apartment for more than a week, it was badly decomposed.
Tenants like Sylvia Lyman know that they may more than likely will have to find a new home in the near future.
Lyman told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “I’ll probably get an eviction notice in January, but after 24 years [here], it’s hard to pick up and go.”
Mayor Peduto told a tenant meeting in July he wants to see want kind of affordable housing plans the property owners and developers have in mind for Penn Plaza tenants who will have to be re-located.
The plans put forward by developers earlier this year said the complex would be renovated, making way for a combination of apartments and retail businesses, but they made no mention of new affordable housing for those evicted tenants.
A spokesman for Mayor Peduto said that the Mayor’s office had open lines of communication with the property owners, and the mayor’s staff meets regularly with tenants groups to go over concerns.