Inductee #4: Yturbides Mieses - September 2010
On Monday, September thirteenth Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced the fourth inductee in the city’s Landlord Hall of Shame. Yturbides Mieses of 5751 Route 873 Neffs, Pa was inducted in connection with properties he owns at 538 Gordon Street, 550 N. 10th Street, 929 Pine Street and 745 Greenleaf Street in the city. The announcement was made at a news conference this morning outside 538 Gordon Street.
All four properties are tagged Unfit for Human Habitation. 538 Gordon is on the CDBG demolition list. All four properties are under consideration for inclusion on the Allentown Redevelopment Authority Blighted Property List.
Utility services have been turned-off at the structures. The properties have numerous fire, electrical, mechanical and plumbing code violations. They are posted as being in violation of Allentown City Ordinance 12199, the city’s Property Maintenance and Rehabilitation Code.
The Landlord Hall of Shame was established in October 2008 for the purpose of bringing public pressure to bear on property owners who refuse to improve substandard conditions on their rental properties and bring down property values across the neighborhood.
In 2008, Pawlowski formed a Landlord Hall of Shame Committee consisting of the Director of Building Standards and Safety, Housing Supervisor, Construction Code Superintendent, and a representative of the Zoning and Recycling bureaus.
“Mr. Mieses’ refusal to make any necessary repairs to this building brought us to this point today,” said Pawlowski.
The Allentown Police Department has responded to Mieses properties some 40 times since January 1, 2007. Reasons include person with weapon, unwanted person, indecent assault, domestic disturbances, theft in progress, illegal drug, noise and animal complaints, abandoned 911 calls and more.
Citations have been filed against properties owned by Mr. Mieses for $535.00 in outstanding unpaid SWEEP violations. An additional citation will be filed directly for the current conditions of 538 Gordon Street.
City Council passed a buyer notification ordinance in 2008 requiring that code violations be corrected either prior to the transfer of title, or within six months of the date of purchase. It was the initial step in the enhanced effort to improve the city’s housing stock. “Although it has taken years for our property problems to develop,” the mayor said, “they are not going to be remedied by standing still.”
The state has also given municipalities other options. Act 135, which was approved in February 2009, gives Pennsylvania communities and organizations the power to petition the court to appoint a conservator to temporarily take over a blighted and abandoned property. “Conservatorship,” Pawlowski said, “provides an effective way for communities – neighbors – to take action to get problem properties fixed up and back onto the market when traditional tactics fail.”
The mayor also encouraged qualifying property owners to take advantage of the city’s Rental Rehabilitation Program. “I don’t want to be standing outside any properties conducting induction ceremonies for the Landlord Hall of Shame,” said Pawlowski. “What I want is for property owners to take advantage of the city’s Rental Rehabilitation Program which provides funding to rehabilitate permanent rental housing that is affordable to and occupied by low-income persons and families. Landlords can call our Financial Specialist at 610-437-7696 for more information,” the mayor added.
The city is giving the public the opportunity to nominate a property owner for the next Hall of Shame induction. Suggestions can be called-in to the Bureau of Building Standards & Safety at 610-437-7690.