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BEAVER FALLS (KDKA) — More than two dozen people living in a Beaver Falls apartment building woke up Wednesday to find a shocking notice on the front door of their homes.
“Uninhabitable,” that’s what a notice on the door of the 18-unit apartment complex on 6th Avenue reads. Tenants say the notice was posted Wednesday morning, indicating everyone needed to be out of their home by the date listed, Jan. 2, 2019, which is today.
Roberta Waldron is a caretaker for a tenant in the building.
“This is very unexpected having that ‘uninhabitable’ notice on the door, shocking everyone right now, and there’s a lot of families in there,” she said.
Waldron helps tenant Nicole LaVette with her daily needs.
“I have epilepsy, I don’t feel well, I’m not ready to go no where, it’s cold,” LaVette said.
LaVette is on disability and assistance, and needs to stay close to home for safety.
Tenants say it would be a hardship for them, including the parents of young children, to abruptly leave. The property manager agrees, saying with no apartment above $400 a month, including electricity, the building fulfills an important role for the most vulnerable.
Marion Tavernaris is the landlord of the property.
“That’s it in a nutshell,” she said. “We deal with people who have nowhere else to go, and people are calling us and saying, ‘Where are they going to go? What are you going to do with them?'”
But both tenants and the property manager also agree there have been problems in the past, a list of things according to Waldron and Tavernaris.
“TThere use to be problems with the heat, but I got to tell you, he fixed that problem; and there’s been bed bugs and roaches, but he’s gotten someone in there once every two weeks to spray it down,” said Waldron.
“They said smoke detectors in the apartments, we’re use to that. We’re use to that people taking them down, taking the batteries out. When you’re a landlord, you’re use to that,” said Tavernaris.
The “uninhabitable” notice cites two things, a dryer vent and safety. The property manger says the city never came back to re-inspect after they were given a punch list in November, so she plans to keep fighting for the people who live there and need help.
“We have tenants that have failed at living at group homes, that have been rejected out of the projects, that have lower incomes, there’s nothing wrong with them, they’re seniors, maybe they have low income,” Tavernaris said. “We believe they just want to shut our building down.”
The city manager would not go on camera, but did take a call. He says the fire department has been inside the building in the last few weeks, and the city is citing “serious mechanical reasons” for the building’s “uninhabitable” notice. He said it’s for the resident’s safety.
The landlord has an attorney involved; and, in the meantime, the city says residents will be given five days or possibly until Jan. 11 to leave. The landlord is also questioning why residents didn’t receive a written letter before the notice was posted.