Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fire, Health, Zoning Violations, Electricity Shutoff Lead To Immediate Code Enforcement Boot For 20 Surprised Tenants In Now-Condemned Extended Stay Motel; Red Cross Steps In To Ease Transition For Angry Displaced Residents

In Tucson, Arizona, Tucson News Now reports:
  • Tenants staying at a Tucson extended stay motel are out on the streets after they discovered their building was condemned on Monday, April 24.

    Tenants living in the South Building of the Fortuna Inn and Suites just north of downtown at 333 W. Drachman Street, said they were shocked to come back here and see code violation signs.

    “I’m angry, very angry. Opened up the doorway and all the hallways were black,” tenant Helina said. She did not want to give her last name.

    All 20 tenants living in the South Building of the Fortuna Inn and Suites woke up Monday to find their electricity had been shut off and Tucson police officers at their door.

    “What were you told to do?” Tucson News Now asked. “Get out,” Helina said.

    Helina and another tenant, Joleen Ramos, said they have lived in the building since last year and said they pay their rent on time each month, including April. But because of multiple code violations the city of Tucson has condemned the property.

    “Frustrating. We either deserve our money back from this month’s rent or a place to go,” Ramos said.

    Cristina Palsgrove with the city of Tucson’s Code Violation division said the property manager was served a notification five days ago that code enforcement would take action Monday.

    “Management was notified on Thursday,” Palsgrove said. But apparently there was no warning for tenants.

    “I’d like to know the reason behind that. Why we weren’t told,” tenant Fran Banks said.

    Tucson News Now went inside the motel to get answers. But no one would come to the front desk.

    The city of Tucson said the violations include improper zoning. “It’s a motel and they’re not zoned for long-term occupancy or equipped for that,” Palsgrove said.

    Palsgrove said there was also a fire code violation with exposed wiring and a number of health code issues. All of this has left tenants scrambling to find another place to live.

    Tucson News Now: Where does this leave you? “Out in the heat basically,” Ramos said.

    The Red Cross was working with tenants to place them in shelters and help find them alternative places to live. If you would like to get in contact with them call, 520-318-6740.

    As far as the owner of the property. An employee of Fortuna Inn and Suites provided Tucson News Now with the man’s name and email. He’s associated with a jewelry company that manufactures and imports jewelry out of Hong Kong. Tucson News Now has reached out to him through email for a comment but we have not received a response.

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