FISI: Recently…

I started doing ‘Fame It, Shame It’ back at WoM. Parts of Lorain were literally falling in on themselves. The Building Department was overwhelmed and undermanned and underfunded. A girl was sexually assaulted in a vacant home, and drug activity was taking place in others. People that were responsible in keeping up their homes and lots were being punished by absentee landlords who let empty properties rot. Something needed done, and FISI was born.

While Mayor Krasienko had started his term off by quickly addressing housing problems, what has been done is merely a drop in the bucket. Money is still a problem, and other things need addressed, as well. I’ve continued FISI, and hopefully, rather than be angry at me for ‘shooting houses’, the building inspectors will write down addresses and visit these properties themselves.

Recently, a well-known landlord discovered my series and, since he’d had properties featured as well as a story written on him alone, he had a fit. Check it out: 

WOW HERE IS A TRUE CASE WHERE THE PERSON WRITING THESE BLOGS IS NOTHING BUT A 100% TROUBLE MAKER HERE IN THIS CITY OF LORAIN OHIO, AND OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS. LIKE WRITING ABOUT A HOUSE LOCATED AT 511 WEST 18TH STREET. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, WHEN THE HOUSE WAS FIRST PURCHASED, IT WAS INTACT WITH EVERYTHING UP TO CODE UNTIL VANDALS ATTACKED IT. SO WHO’S THE FOOL NOW ?THE DAMAGE YOU SEE HERE IN THIS PHOTO YOU TOOK OF THIS HOUSE IS A TRUE CASE OF WHAT I/WE LANDLORDS CALL ‘CRACK HEAD VANDALISM’. THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE ON DRUGS GO AROUND TEARING UP OTHER PEOPLE’S PROPERTY, STEALING ALUMINUM SIDING, GUTTERS, COPPER PIPING,& ELECTRIC SERVICES TO GET MONEY TO FEED THEIR DRUG HABITS. HEY… I HOPE YOUR HOUSE IS NOT NEXT ON THEIR LIST TO GET THE ‘CRACK HEAD MAKE-OVER’ & IF SO I WOULD LIKE TO COME AND TAKE SOME PHOTOS AFTER THOSE CRACK HEADS ARE DONE WITH THEIR MAKE OVER OF YOUR HOUSE.I WILL GLADLY LIST THEM HERE SO YOU TOO CAN FEEL THE FULL EFFECT OF BEING MIS-JUDGED. FEEL FREE TO SEND YOUR OWN COMMENTS AND PHOTOS TO BIGRED69C@AOL.COM AND I’LL GLADLY HELP YOU UPLOAD THEM.   

I explained the house had been apparently neglected because I got word from someone concerning the property,  and that if owners couldn’t maintain/keep up with the responsibility, they should sell the house to someone who could, and stop hurting the neighbors. And, he replied with this: 

 WOW MARK THIS HOME WAS JUST PURCHASED AND NOT NEGLECTED. THE CRACK HEAD VANDALS HIT IT SO YES U ARE GOING TO SEE THE DAMAGE IN YOUR PHOTOS RIGHT ? ANSWER IS YES THIS IS A TRUE CASE OF WHAT I WE/ LANDLORDS CALL ‘ABSENTEE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH’. IF THOSE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE WAY THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKS LIKE, WOULD START PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO WHATS GOING ON IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD AND HELP STOP & REPORT THE VANDELS, THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN AND PROPERTY VALUES WOULD NOT DECLINE. IN FACT PROPERTY VALUES WOULD INCREASE RIGHT ??? WE CAN NOT STAND GUARD AT OUR HOUSES 24/ HOURS 7 DAYS A WEEK. BY THE WAY MARK HOW MANY HOUSES DO YOU OWN AND AGAIN I HOPE YOU DONT GET THE CRACK HEAD MAKE OVER LIKE A LOT OF PROPERTY OWNERS ARE GETTING IN THIS TOWN.WHAT ABOUT THE HOUSES THAT ARE NOT OWNED BY ANYONE BUT UP FOR SALE OR FORECLOSURE OR JUST SITTING THERE BECAUSE THE OWNER IS ON VACATION OR RECENTLY PASSED AWAY? NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DISTROY ANYONE’S PROPERTY WHETHER OWNED OR NOT, WHETHER OCCUPIED OR NOT. THE POINT IS ‘OPINIONS ARE LIKE THE BACKSIDE YOU SIT ON, EVERYONE HAS ONE…SO BECAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT…BECAUSE ONCE YOU SAY IT, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK’. THE LEAST YOU CAN DO IS BE FAIR.GUESS YOU ARE STIL ON THE ‘FOOLS’ LIST SINCE YOUR FIRST REPORT WAS SO ONE-SIDED AND YOU DIDN’T GET ALL THE FACTS BEFORE MAKING COMMENTS.NOTHING BUT THE FACTS

 Unfortunately, neighbors aren’t inclined to look out for absentee landlords who don’t leave contact numbers, and really don’t have the ability to reciprocate the ‘pay attention to the neighborhood’ program. Another thing is NTBF’s opinion of ‘one-sided’ translates to ‘nothing but the facts’. Photos don’t lie. The damage is there, or it’s not. Some damage is readily apparent as to whether it has been there for a while. Some is not. But NTBF’s reputation and numerous properties weigh the vote heavily against him. Not too much wiggle room there. So, being the fair person I am, I took NTBF/Big Red up on his offer to send my comments (on January 23): 

If you think I’ve been unfair in the photos of your houses that I’ve posted, then I’d like to hear about it.

I’d like to hear what your intentions are for the 37+ properties that you own, and what you’re doing to improve them, whether you’re going to rent them out, etc.

If there’s a side or an aspect of your situation that you think should be out there, then by all means, let me hear it. People have seen your name in the Journal and on the ‘net, and would enjoy hearing your side of things.

But to come on my blog and tell me I’m a fool doesn’t hold much water considering the situation.

And I’m still waiting for a reply. From someone who was pretty passionate about calling me a fool.

In the meantime, traffic on past FISI articles, visits to photos of FISI properties on my Flickr account, and landlord searches have spiked considerably. Word has apparently gone out.

So, I extend the above offer to other landlords. If you feel I’ve been unfair, let me know. If you’ve fixed up your property from the condition I found it, I’ll let everyone else know.

And if you haven’t fixed up your property yet, maybe you could consider making plans to?

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23 thoughts on “FISI: Recently…

  1. Well Henery the vacant home on 4th has now been deteriorating for 34 YEARS ….the trouble is they give them 6 months to do something then extensions and so it goes on and on….. do you think after 34 years that is time enough? Nope we have to start the process alllllllll overrrrrrrrrrrrr again….. ridiculous…..

  2. And some of them avoid the summonses by titling the property to a relative, and back again, etc., to avoid having to face the music. It’s horrible. Meanwhile, the neighborhood withers.

    Looks like this week will be dedicated to housing and such, as I’m working on the transcription of the Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka interview by Meet the Bloggers from 2 years ago. Amazing the flashback, from what the Judge is starting to see to where we are now. And the things he’s implemented in Cleveland are pretty bold, but they got results.

  3. Sounds good amazing to me that under the eminent domain laws for “private development” thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling ( Kelo) they can take your house but hey we can’t make you fix it up!!!!

  4. Excellent article. With the help of some of my neighbors, we have been mowing his grass, cutting hedges and cleaning up trash at the property that I see out my window every day. He wasn’t doing it, and even though there was numerous complaints, the city wasn’t forcing him. The house next door is banked owned and one day the lawn company that was taking care of that foreclosed property saw what I was doing and they volunteered to mow the grass that day.

    This guy wants the neighbors to help keep an eye out? Well, I have caught people breaking into this house twice. Your aluminum siding is still attached but it still looks like garbage. I’ll help you out a little, but you show a complete lack of interest in this home!!! The way you keep it is THE MAGNET FOR CRIME!

    I think that this person should be banned from purchasing properties from a sheriff’s auction until the other properties are up to code. You act like you are a single mom with 37 kids.

    (sorry for changing verb tense so often)

  5. Kalin – I like this idea very much:
    “…should be banned from purchasing properties from a sheriff’s auction until the other properties are up to code.”
    However, I would not limit that rule just to one person. It oughta be a law for everyone.

  6. Kalin and Momma,

    Raymond Pianka is a Housing Court Judge for the City of Cleveland. A few years back, Meet the Bloggers did an interview with him, and with the permission of George Nemeth, I’m in the process of transcribing that interview. The things Judge Pianka has done to right wrongs in the City of Cleveland regarding negligent landlords could, without a doubt, be applied here in Lorain. (Matter of fact, if someone knows where I can send copies to the City of Lorain judges, I’d love to hear from them.)

    As I write more and more from the interview, my smile gets bigger and bigger because Pianka does not mess around. I’ve had to deal with him in the past; he’s fair, firm, and doesn’t take lame excuses. (One of his inspectors, on the other hand (one in particular) is as lame as she can possibly get. Another story.) Listening to the interview, it’s amazing the seeds that were growing then (early 2007) that have overtaken neighborhoods and the housing industry now.

    Look for it Wednesday.

  7. I wouldn’t give any credence to the complaining landlord. When he learns to spell better, maybe he will read code better and do the things necessary to remain within the laws and codes.

    The Cleveland judge sounds like the type we need more of, but unfortunately, those types are few and far between in our area. Our judges are too busy playing the “politically” correct game.

    Keep FISI going until the problems are solved. If the owners don’t like the publicity, then (F)ix (I)t or (S)hut (I)t.

  8. Well said Eastsider M I am tired of the “poor me” landlords – like the one next door who bastardized a home on the architectural register……not that they other landlords had been great either that owned that property … they were the do nothing types…. and now well it has been forclosed and forlorn and forgotten the three F’s and we are experiencing the fourth F—-d ….. not a lady this morning 😦

  9. As a Landlord who tries to keep their properties nice I applaud your efforts and postings. I must admit it is difficult sometimes to stay ahead of renters but I try and manage to succeed(most of the time) so other landlords who just cry and whine do not get my sympathy.I collect my rent AT the properties and make the renters do what they are supposed to.I also write my leases to reflect Lorain’s Property Maintenence Code and I EVICT those who wish to do otherwise.
    My properties are inspected by Lorain and Section 8 but that in itself does not protect them from renters who do not care.
    It also does not protect me from inspectors who DO NOT KNOW Property Maintenence Code or the NEC. But that is another story!
    Keep up the good work!

  10. I applaud you, Zapatalives, because you seem to be in the minority. Driving around Lorain, on either side of Broadway, within a few streets, it isn’t hard to find houses that are rented out and falling down.

    Lorain needs more folks like you. Keep up the great work!

  11. Zaptalives Congrats to you ..actually we have a few really good landlords in Charleston Village and they know the neighbors and the neighbors do keep an eye out for them and their is a mutuial respect…. the trouble is people like yourself are the exception and not the rule so thank you Loraine

  12. Zaptalives, as a long time renter in Lorain, I can totally empathize with the issues you have with bad tenants. Those kind of people make it damn near impossible for responsible folks to find decent housing in this city at a reasonable cost. I have never understood the “it’s not my house/not my problem” mentality of those who will not take care the place they call home. Kudos to you for doing your best to take care of your properties and setting a good example!

  13. Actually it’s zapatalives,I left out an “A”.
    Thanks for the kudos but they are not neccessary. I have family in Lorain and have all my life. I do try ot stay ahead of the game but this year seems a time to paint one of them that is by the lake. Seems to be a problem every 2 years…?
    What I find amazing about this whole issue is that renters will move into a crap hole? I have had renters who are surprised that I paint and clean or replace carpets before they move in! Many say the landlord makes them move out the evicted renters stuff before they move in. Now my house are not perfect,they are old but my whole idea is to have a rental that doesn’t look like a rental.
    Anyways have a great day!

  14. When the latest purchaser of “the little house that couldn’t” took over the property my co chair of CVSI and went over to talk to him to see what he intended…..as the house had been on the architectural register.. although we tried to dissuade him for turning it into 2 bedroom thus changing the configuration of the house thus effecting its status we understood that he could rent a two bedroom for more than one…. but were shocked to find out he wasn’t doing anything about the crumbling basement walls or carpeting that had been down for 26 years or the the kitchen that was very very bad…. I said I couldn’t understand his thinking as no woman or man who had any sense of responsibilty or pride in where she lived would move into a house in that condition and move a child in as well so therefore it would follow they wouldn’t take care of his property if they didn’t care about the conditions …we were proved right…. but he said his father (also a multi renter landlord) told him to make it in this businees do just what need to be done , get what you could out of it and move on ….. we had some terrible people in that little house drugs etc. ………… the tree fell on it and caused me no end of headaches ….. and he has moved on…..another foreclosure on our street………

  15. Of course not.

    All talk, no action. But then, we knew that.

    I didn’t expect a response, but I had to send the email to insure that.

    And he just bought another property recently; it was in the transaction list Saturday.

    I think I need some email addresses for our City judges, to give them some of the tactics that Judge Pianka is using.

  16. Kalin the man is a disgrace – and makes Lorain’s builfing dept and inspections a joke- if it were back in the day he would be in public square in the stocks having his own garbage hurled at him …….
    You have my sympathy with this less than honorable landlord and property owner!

  17. My take on Georgy Porgy

    Georgy Schneider the landlord guy
    Trashed Lorain and made her cry
    When the Inspectors came out to see
    Georgy Schneider giggled with glee
    “Go ahead do your worst
    the trash will fill til the walls do burst!”
    I am the great Land lord man
    I do what I do because I CAN!!!

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