The owner of a small rental house on Orlando Avenue was ordered to tear down a dilapidated garage and will bring the house up to code after it was discovered that the tenants were living in squalor as a result of dogs and cats relieving themselves inside the dwelling.
The owner of the house, Joe Young, appeared before the East Ridge Housing Commission in an emergency session Wednesday afternoon at City Hall. Young told the board he had no idea of the conditions the elderly couple were living in and said he would “roll up his sleeves” and get to work cleaning it up.
Codes Enforcement Officer Charlie Ritchey said he was called to the house at 1318 Orlando Ave. on Monday by police after officers discovered an overwhelming stench coming from the house. Ritchey said the tenants had 13 cats and five dogs. The animals had urinated and defecated inside the house, leaving 200 pounds of waste on the floors.
Ritchey said that aside from the animal waste there were more than a dozen code violations found inside the house, including structural decay and light fixtures hanging by wires from the ceilings. The house was immediately condemned.
Ritchey said an outbuilding in the back of the house was decayed and half of the building had collapsed. It was discovered that the boyfriend of the tenant’s daughter may have been living in the outbuilding, something the landlord was unaware of.
Under questioning by housing commissioners, Young said he had been to the house within the last couple of months but had not been inside the dwelling for “several years.” Young said he was under the impression that the tenants had “a couple of pets.”
Young told the board that the tenants are now living with their son and won’t be allowed to return to the house.
City Attorney Mark Litchford told Young that he would have to go through an eviction process with the tenants. He said that it appeared Young had valid legal grounds in which to keep the tenants from returning, as they may have violated the terms of the lease.
Young said he would “help them however I can.”
Housing Commission Chairman Jim Winters said that Young was willing to raze the garage, clean up the mess inside and bring the house up to code. Young said he would pull the necessary permits and keep city codes officials apprised of the progress in making the house livable. Once that is done, Young said he would turn over the house to a property management company to lease.
Young was ordered to appear before the housing commission to give an update on the house at its January 14, 2019 meeting.