05/27/04 — City receives complaints about bad housing

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City receives complaints about bad housing

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 27, 2004 2:00 PM

Some tenants in Goldsboro are living in substandard houses, with problems ranging from rotted out floors to holes in the roofs.

And though the city is trying to help, relief is slow, because housing codes allow landlords up to a year before they have to make repairs.

Several houses were recently cited by the Inspection Department for non-compliance with the city's minimum housing code, after renters complained to the city.

There are three phases in the process, and getting through those three phases can take almost a year. Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said the Inspection Department sends a letter to the owners, asking them to come in to the department to discuss the house.

That's the first phase in the process.

"If the owner doesn't come in or if he comes in but doesn't get a building permit to make changes, we move to Phase 2," Cianfarra said.

The second phase is about the same as the first, except the property owner has 60 days to respond.

If there's no response within 60 days, then it's on to the third phase.

Phase 3 gives the owner an additional 45 days to respond.

"When Phase 3 is up, we do a title search and place an ad in the newspaper saying it's going before the City Council for condemnation," Cianfarra says. "The process takes at least 8 to 10 months."

Since January, 14 dilapidated dwellings have been condemned by the City Council and are on their way to being demolished.

That still leaves 27 structures in the third phase, waiting in line to be tagged for condemnation.

In the meantime, the clock has just begun ticking for the latest round of substandard dwellings in the city.

So the tenants living in the substandard living conditions may have to live in these houses for some time before they are fixed, or determined to be uninhabitable.

One woman complained that her landlord, Frances Mozingo, would not make repairs to the holes in the floors of the rental property.

According to the report, the tenant said that her 5-year-old daughter fell through the living room floor, and that her own bed had fallen through the bedroom floor.

Another complaint filed by a tenant alleged that Alpine Properties wouldn't repair a problem that was causing raw sewage to accumulate under the house. The Inspection Department is following up with the owners and management of the house regarding cleaning up the raw sewage.

Another complaint was filed against Danny Hood Realty, for not making repairs to floors falling in, falling light fixtures, and holes on the outside of the roof.

The tenant alleged that pigeons were nesting in the holes, and the droppings were coming down the bedroom ceiling and walls in her children's rooms.

All of those houses were placed in the first phase of violation of the minimum housing code.

"Depending on the severity of the complaints, unless the landlords respond quickly, the tenant may have to live in that condition," said Cianfarra. "A lot of them don't have the ability to move."

The City Council condemned three dwellings at its last meeting. A mobile home at 1904 N. William St., Lot 7, was inspected in January and found to be dilapidated.

A house at 418 S. Denmark St. was inspected in March and was condemned by the council. Another house at 506 Colonial Terrace, also inspected in January, is scheduled to be demolished

In addition, the council condemned the Old Gold Leaf Warehouse, 2601 N. William St.