Owner and tenant blame each other as Watertown condemns home

WWNY Owner and tenant blame each other as Watertown condemns home

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a dispute between landlord and tenant and now the city of Watertown has taken action.

The house in question is at 116 Barben Avenue. Just before Watertown Code Enforcement showed up to condemn it, 7 News got a look inside.

The home is in pretty bad shape, but how it got that way depends on whom you ask.

“It’s just nonsense. It’s been more of a hassle than anything. Like, I truly regret moving in here,” said McKenzie Rosado, tenant.

Rosado spent Wednesday afternoon clearing out the home where she has lived with her two kids and their father since December.

Rosado says moving out isn’t their choice.

“Codes just came yesterday and then they said that they’re condemning it today. So, we have to get our stuff out as soon as possible,” she said.

Rosado says the house has problems from top to bottom.

She says all upstairs appliances have to be plugged into the same power strip, which is run from one outlet.

“This is the only outlet that we have that will work up here. This runs our entire upstairs,” she said.

Downstairs there’s a section of ceiling missing.

Rosado says it fell in due to a leak in the upstairs bathroom that’s since been fixed.

The home also has mold and exposed wires.

Rosado says the damages were there before her family moved in and they were told the issues would be fixed.

“We had a lot of empty promises. We were promised that this house would be fixed,” she said.

Property owner Eric Swartz tells a different story.

“They’re dirt bags that ruined my property and I can’t evict them because of Governor Cuomo and COVID,” he said.

Swartz also says the family rarely, if ever, paid their rent.

Rosado says Swartz is upset because his property isn’t making money and she doesn’t think it deserves to make money.

And Rosado says they did pay the $1,500 a month rent until around April, but stopped because they say the owner didn’t fix anything like promised.

The end result is a condemnation notice from the city.

“This one is uninhabitable,” said Christine Shipley, city building safety inspector.

Shipley says getting the family out is for their own good.

“It’s not my job to displace people. But, it’s to keep them safe. And, when I walk away from here today, I know they’re going to be safe,” she said.

Rosado says she has leads on a new place to live, but the clock is ticking.

“I have to throw all my stuff into storage and stay here or there in the meantime and hopefully, not have this baby until I find a house. I mean, I’m eight months pregnant,” she said.

So, who’s right?

Both Rosado and Swartz have a different take on how the home got in the shape it is.

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