by Pamela Powers Hannley
I live in one of midtown Tucson's many mixed use, multi-generational, multi-income neighborhoods. Cute, old adobes from the 1930s are mixed together with urban in-fill duplexes from the 1950s and newer.
Many of the brightly colored abodes have been restored and are every bit as unique and architecturally important as those in the better known historic neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the homes in my neighborhood are worth much less than comparable homes in Sam Hughes or West University because of the seedy rentals owned by slumlord millionaires, who don't care about anything except making money.
Much to her credit, my neighborhood president is ever-vigilant when it comes to code violations-- particularly junk furniture in the easement and high weeds/grass. Although she and others work tirelessly to keep the neighborhood clean and safe, it's an uphill battle because there are many repeat offenders-- absentee slumlords who allow weeds to grow uncontrolled and pile up couches, mattresses, and junk in the curb lawn (as pictured here) until the city-- at the request of the neighbors-- gets after them.
The drill is...
- Citizen makes a formal complaint to the Code Enforcement Department.
- Eventually they send someone out to verify there is indeed a couch in the right of way.
- The city sends the property owner a letter saying they have 30 days to get rid of the couch. (This letter may go out anywhere from a week to a month after the initial citizen complaint.)
- Two months or more after the complaint-- or the next bulky pick-up-- the couch disappears-- often because the city comes and picks it up.
The City of Tucson should stop babying these business owners and start holding them accountable for the state of their property. The rental in the top picture is on East Pima Street. When my intrepid neighborhood president wrote to Cynthia Gandy from Tierra Antigua Realty, this was the response.
Those properties have been vacant for many months My client purchased it as a foresclose and there was no furniture left behind He actually paid to have surrounding area cleaned Im sorry that someone is using it as a dumping area but it has nothing to do with us We don not even have a renter yet as my client has decided to do adt improvements prior to renting
Tierra Antigua Realty
520 544-2335 cell 520 870-9844
In others words, buzz off. Slumlords should be fined for these violations; I think $1000 would be a good starting point. Every time the city has to remove old furniture or junk (when it's not bulky pick-up time), the property owner should be billed-- and jailed if they don't pay the fine. Renting property is a business. Maintenance of the property is a legitimate business expense. Landlords routinely charge tenants a cleaning fee. There is no excuse for landlords to allow crap to pile up and leave it for the city to remove. Furthermore, I know for a fact that some Tucson slumlords hire undocumented workers to clean out, paint, and repair rentals. What a creative business model: charge tenants a cleaning fee, pay undocumented works sh*t wages to clean up the mess and drag the old furniture to the curb, and let the city carry away the trash for free. Hmmm...
It's time to hold slumlords accountable for the blight they have created.
Slumlord names after the jump.
To make it easier for the city to find the repeat offender slumlords and hold them accountable, I'm posting names and addresses, along with a few pics. There are cops cruising our neighborhood all the time looking for druggies and small-time criminals, why can't they issue tickets for these code violations? (To find out who owns a property in your area, go to this website.)
3537 E. Camden. This lovely duplex with the mattress labeled "bed bugs" is owned by Alice Reynolds-Jordan and Gregory Jordan, 4160 Old York Rd., Monkton, MD.
1625 N. Winstel is owned by Ali and Mojgan Rezaei, 1202 W. Rodriguez Rd., Oro Valley.
3635 E. Bellevue is owned by James and Carolyn F. Clary, 6776 County Rd. 86, Fort Collins, Colorado.
3532 E. Fairmount is owned by Benjamin Bernstein, who lives in Sam Hughes at 2639 E. 4th St., Tucson.
1308 N. Howard St. is owned by Carl S. Schultz, Jr., Tami Sheridan, and Rene L. Schultz, 4611 S. Bayport Place, Tucson.