Feedback: Absentee Landlord Blamed For Apartment's Problems
(Note: This story was first posted before we were able to reach the landlord of the property. We have since added his comments.)
There are many residents of 731 State Street that don't pay rent.
Tenant Kenyata Bates says she sprays against cockroaches in her apartment on a regular basis.
"I think they kind of just run to a different spot and hide and come back," she said.
Bates says she and other residents of the four-unit building are victims of an absentee landlord.
The landlord, meanwhile, says he is available to his tenants.
Broken ceilings and windows go unrepaired and garbage isn't collected.
Earlier this year, Bates complained to city code enforcement officials who cited landlord Don Blinebry, who lives in another state.
City code officials say there is legal action pending against the building's owner.
But they say their enforcement has been hindered because the tenant who complained has moved out.
That's not quite what happened, Bates said. In the absence of a landlord, she switched to a vacant downstairs apartment to get some heat.
"We were opening the oven at one point, which is really bad with an asthmatic child, because the gas, but now the oven doesn't work."
Bates says it's been months since she's been able to reach her landlord.
Blinebry disagrees. He says he has been available to his tenants, pays for trash removal and believes his tenants may have been breaking things in the house.
Blinebry says Bates isn't even supposed to be living there because her lease ended earlier this year.
Blinebry says he's been honoring the city's requests.
He adds that he wants to sell the house and it's on the market.
The city, meanwhile, is taking steps to remove the pile of garbage and Bates says she's determined to find another place to live.
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Friday, May 24, 2013, Watertown, NY
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