The City of Batavia’s Bureau of Inspections is giving management of the Northside Meadows apartment complex at 335 Bank St. until Sept. 1 to rectify roof and driveway maintenance issues or risk court action.
A violation notice dated July 1 and issued by Doug Randall, city code enforcement officer, to Northside Meadows Association, which is managed by David Renzo of V&V Development Corp., indicates that his investigation found the following items to be in violation of the Property Maintenance Code and Residential Code of New York State:
- Roofs and drainage. The asphalt roof coverings are deteriorated, missing material, and not maintained in a sound and tight condition on two of the three residential buildings located on this property. You must repair or replace the roof covering using approved materials.
- Roof covering materials. Two of the residential buildings have been covered with grey plastic tarps. The tarps are not approved roof covering materials.
- Sidewalks and driveways. The asphalt driveway and parking areas have uneven surfaces with loose and missing materials in various areas throughout the property. You must maintain these areas in a proper state of repair and eliminate hazardous conditions. Immediate action must be taken to ensure safety.
The notice, which was obtained by The Batavian through a Freedom of Information Law request earlier today, also states the following:
That a building and/or plumbing and/or electrical permit may be required to make some or all of these corrections. If a permit is required you must obtain one prior to starting work on the items for which the permit is needed. All corrections not requiring a permit should be commenced immediately.
Contacted about the violation notice along with a tenant’s report of a leaky ceiling in one of the Building B apartments and other issues, Renzo said he has a “workout plan” in place to correct the situation.
It should be noted, that the property manager had a similar reply in a June 22 story by The Batavian on similar problems at Le Roy Meadows, another low-income housing project overseen by V&V Development. (More on that at the end of this story).
“Workers will be here tomorrow at 7 a.m. to put more tarps on the building so we can fix the ceiling in that apartment and we have plans to put new roofs on Buildings B and C this summer,” Renzo said. “We’re in the process of contracting with a roofing company right now.”
Northside Meadows, located just west of Walden Estates, consists of three buildings – A, B and C – with eight apartments (four lower and four upper) in each building.
Renzo said he also is soliciting bids to fix the large potholes in the driveway.
Saturday’s heavy rain caused a build-up of water on the roof of Building B and, eventually, resulted in a leak in the ceiling.
Renzo said he went to the apartment, staying there for three hours to shore up the ceiling – punching additional holes in it to relieve the water pressure.
“We had four inches of rain … and this could have happened even with a new roof; the water accumulated in the valley of the roof,” he said.
He explained that he punched some more holes in the ceiling to prevent it from bubbling and placed plywood on the ceiling, supported by long boards extending to the floor.
Meanwhile, the woman who had just moved in to that apartment was forced to evacuate, and is staying with her mother until it is fixed, Renzo said.
“She’ll be out a couple days … but she was all happy because we’re giving her a month’s free rent,” Renzo said.
Currently, tarps are covering Building B and Building C (which is not in compliance with city code), while the roof was replaced on Building A 10 years ago – only after receiving violation notices from the city.
The tarps on Building B and Building C have been in place for at least eight years.
The mother of the tenant who did not disclose his/her name called the property “a hot mess,” citing evidence of drug use, mold, car repairs in the parking lots and excessive noise.
“Starting from the street, you’ve got craters in the driveway that do not get fixed,” said Connie Porter, a Birchwood Village resident who provides rides for her son/daughter. “For several years – and I don’t mean days and I don’t mean months – these roofs have been covered with tarps. Let’s not fix them. Let’s keep collecting rent and leave them.”
Porter said there is no policing of tenants who are violating the rules.
“There are people that are taking advantage of putting their cars in there and doing work that should be done at a mechanic’s shop,” she said. “And at Building C – the needles There is not one diabetic that I know of who goes outdoors to inject themselves with insulin and throws it on the ground. Something else is going on. Plus, the noise at all hours of the night.”
She asked what it was going to take before something gets done.
“Why should it be that you have to turn somebody in before the landlords … actually do something to keep the place the way it should be? Are they going to wait until somebody gets hurt or dies? That’s a health risk over there … a serious health risk.”
Renzo responded by saying that the police, specifically the drug task force, are “very well aware of the situation.”
“The problem is that if they know someone is doing something, it takes about a year to build a case,” he said. “The next plan of action is that we’re going to be putting video cameras in, probably, which would help. That’s our plan – to put video cameras in each building in the common areas.”
He said the management firm’s accounts receivable are thousands of dollars in arrears because many tenants have not paid rent since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
The federal moratorium on eviction ends on July 31, and the state moratorium concludes a month later.
“I sent a letter last week to all the people who haven’t paid and let them know the eviction moratorium is ending …,” Renzo said.
He said that all prospective tenants are subject to background checks and sex offender checks.
“Back in 1993 when the place was built, things were so much different,” he offered. “Now, all these people from Rochester are moving into town and there is a criminal element we’re dealing with. You rent to a single mother with children and her boyfriend comes in from Rochester …
“If there’s any drugs involved, the police are called and they’re doing their part. It’s no different than any other apartment complex.”
Renzo said he has yet to receive a complaint about mold in the apartments.
He advised that he is working with the United States Department of Agriculture on a plan to get the roofing replace before fall and also to pay off $60,000 in back taxes owed to Genesee County.
Renzo said the facility is owned by Northside Meadows Associates, a limited partnership.
He said that 95 percent of it has been syndicated to a company called Sterling, which utilizes National Tax Credit Fund No. 37, a real estate investment trust based in Manhasset. Renzo said he has only a 2 1/2 percent stake in the complex, with the remaining 2 1/2 percent owned by a local rural preservation company.
LE ROY MEADOWS UPDATE
Renzo said the investment group from California is submitting a workout plan to the USDA and “we expect funds to come in within a week or two.”
“Back taxes are being taken care of by the vouchering of HUD (Housing & Urban Development) money,” he said. “HUD and the USDA have agreed to the plan.”
The county is owed more than $600,000 in back taxes at the 10-building, 80-unit complex at 18 Genesee St., which also is in immediate need of roof and driveway repairs.
Previously: Le Roy Meadows manager says plan will address $600,000 in back taxes, needed repairs
Photo at top: Driveway at Northside Meadows apartment complex. Photos at bottom: Tarps covering Building B; sign along Bank Street. Photos by Howard Owens.