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YNDC, Youngstown Housing Task Force file Receivership Complaint against Blighted Property Owner

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

On behalf of the Youngstown Housing Task Force, YNDC filed a public nuisance complaint against blighted property owner Linda Roe in order to compel her to demolish and clean up vacant and dilapidated property that she owns at 437 Parkcliffe Avenue on Youngstown's south side. The property has been in code enforcement for several years and the Roe has failed to make the necessary repairs to bring it into compliance despite being given multiple opportunities by the City of Youngstown to do so. The home has holes in the roof, multiple broken and missing windows, a collapsing garage, severely peeling paint, and tires and debris littered throughout the yard, among other issues. It has been in this condition for years. 
The Youngstown Housing Task Force, a coalition of resident leaders from across Youngstown working to improve housing quality, identified Roe as one of a number of landlords who own multiple properties with code violations in neighborhoods throughout the city. Prior to filing suit, the Task Force attempted to reach out Ms. Roe in good faith multiple times in order to review the issues and establish an agreement between owner and community to address them within a reasonable timeframe. Despite multiple opportunities, Ms. Roe has demonstrated no willingness to work with either the city or the community to address the code violations on this property, and so the Task Force determined that legal action was warranted.
If declared a public nuisance in Youngstown Municipal Court, Roe will be ordered to clean up the property or a receiver will be appointed on her behalf  to clean it up for the benefit of the surrounding neighbors and property owners, whose health, welfare and property are negatively impacted by its current condition. In this case, YNDC will serve as the receiver and will demolish the blighted home and garage and clean up the lot to improve the quality of life for the surrounding neighbors. A lien for the cost of the cleanup will then be filed against all of the landlord's properties. 
This represents the first time that YNDC and community residents have teamed up to take a landlord to court to compel the clean up of a nuisance property in Youngstown. "You do not have a legal right to own blight in our neighborhoods," says Jack Daugherty, YNDC's Neighborhood Stabilization Director. "It's a public nuisance that violates the rights of the surrounding neighbors and property owners. This owner has been given multiple chances to clean this property up and has failed to do so. There is no good excuse. If you can't properly maintain your investment properties, then don't buy them." Multiple properties owned by Roe have been demolished by the City of Youngstown in previous years.
Roe is one of multiple landlords that the resident leaders of the Youngstown Housing Task Force are working to address. In December, the Task Force recently met another local landlord who they compelled to sign a community agreement to address significant code violations to multiple properties and resolve outstanding public debts, including multiple demolition and delinquent water bills amounting to thousands of dollars. A campaign to publicly shame a number of unresponsive property investors who own blighted properties is currently in the works, and further community and legal action will follow for those that still don't clean up their act.  "It shouldn't be the community's job to clean up your mess, but we'll do it if we have to. No one should have to live next door to properties in this condition."