Several NJ apartment buildings face shutdown

January 17, 2012 2:45:49 PM PST
Officials in Collingswood, New Jersey say conditions are so bad at several apartment buildings, they may revoke the rental licenses and shut them down.

The borough has been after the owners of the 1025 Collings Ave. building and the Princess Anne Apartments on the Black Horse Pike to fix the numerous code violations that have been found.

"I've been doing this for over 20 years. This is the worst we've ever had, first we've moved this way against apartment complexes," said Mayor Jim Maley.

But, since they've failed to comply, officials are now moving to revoke their rental licenses. That would close the buildings down and force residents, many of whom are low income, to move out.

The person listed as the owner of 1025 Collings Ave. hung up on us Tuesday. But Carlo DeThomasi, the owner of the Princess Anne Apartments, called the borough's attempt to revoke his rental license "baloney."

He said he tries to keep his units as nice as possible, but some tenants are slobs, and he says the borough should "get off his back."

Collingswood officials say the buildings are in constant violation of health and safety codes.

"There's a whole bunch of stuff that's wrong with our apartments, our floors are starting to cave in," said resident Shannon Horowitz.

Horowitz shot pictures inside her first floor?apartment where you can see the deteriorating floors and a shower wall that is literally coming apart. Above, it looks like the ceiling is about to give way.

Another resident, Paul Griffith, said he went weeks without running water.

"It took them 3 weeks to fix the water in our bathroom and our kitchen," Griffith said.

And then there are the chronic bedbug infestations that drove Jasmine Marshall's cousin out of her room.

"She couldn't even sleep in her bedroom. I thought I was going to get her bed from her but when we went in it was, literally, all bedbugs," Marshall said.

Mayor Maley says if the buildings are shut down residents would get help relocating.

DeThomasi said the borough is trying to chase out low-income residents. The mayor says it's about quality of life for the tenants and their neighbors.

A hearing is set for February 1st on revoking those rental licenses.