City warns absent owner of property conditions | New

Logansport stumbles upon an absent owner who owns a number of rentals in town.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, Deputy Mayor Jacob Pomasl gave a warning during lengthy conversations about seven gruesome properties in need of cleaning up.

Two of them are part of the Wiper Corporation, based in Boca Raton, Florida, and owned by Vinod Gupta.

“We have finished dealing with the Wiper Corporation,” Pomasl said.

Gupta has regularly presented properties to the Works Council and under four company names.

Pomasl told Wiper’s local management team to let Gupta know that if his properties continue to come before the works committee, committee members will be fining them hefty to get his attention.

Landlord must take responsibility for the condition of their rentals and “take ownership seriously,” Pomasl said. “We can no longer be the executor of Mr. Gupta’s properties.”

Code Enforcement Officer Randy Ulery has other responsibilities and cannot perpetually update Gupta or its managers of the condition of the properties, he said.

Board members fined one of the Wiper properties at 1201 North St. that has received seven notices since 2016 in the amount of $ 5,000.

All but one involved garbage and poorly located debris on the property, including tires, mattresses, electronics, appliances and building materials.

The 2016 advisory dealt with tall grass and weeds.

The Board of Works handles property violations by working with landlords to bring matters into compliance, sending municipal crews to clean up properties at landlord’s expense, and assessing fines as board members see fit.

There are usually several properties in front of the council each week.

“The glove has been thrown away,” Pomasl said. “Logansport owners won’t get away with this anymore.”

Kristie Doty, who manages the Wiper properties with her husband, said past tenants were always removing things from the property on North.

The management team is struggling to access properties with some tenants not responding to doors when they knock.

“We have to fight with tenants to get ownership,” Doty said.

The damage comes from tenants or people renting to own property, she said.

Pomasl said Gupta must include a language on the leases which they can access after giving sufficient notice. Ultimately, it is the property owner’s responsibility for the condition.

“Apologies won’t work anymore,” he said. “You have to face your tenants.

The council waived a fine for the other Wiper property discussed at the meeting, 1827 High St.

The tenant came to speak during the meeting and Ulery said the property had been cleaned up extensively.

However, Pomasl was not happy that Doty and the tenant discuss the situation in front of the board, and shortly before the meeting.

Ulery said Thursday the Dotys were fixing the issues.

“The property managers (from Gupta) are doing their best,” he said.

The city is not sure how many properties are owned by the four Gupta companies.

Ulery said on Wednesday the city found 11 other properties that Gupta owns but are not registered as rentals with the city.

Even if these are leased properties with an option to purchase, they must be registered in Cass County until title changes.

However, Doty is working on making a list for them, he added.

Lisa Terry, board member, noted that winter can affect all cleanings on the property.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” she said. “People don’t like to go out and clean in the cold.

Also at the meeting, board members heard about people dumping their waste into apartment bins, including larger items, such as mattresses and building materials.

Vickie Lebo came to talk about the condition of a property where she recently evicted a tenant and cleaned up.

She also spoke about her dumpster situation at another address.

“The problem is, when the dumpster is in the alley, people are using it,” Lebo said.

She tried to lock it, but people leave trash there.

It’s also expensive for her, not only because she has to pack mattresses – as required for garbage collection – and buy labels for larger items, but her garbage collector charges extra if the dumpster overflows.

At one point, Lebo did a “trash dive” and found mail from people in the neighborhood and gave it to a former code enforcement official.

She never got a response, she said.

City officials will look at existing ordinances to see what can be done. However, they may not be strong enough to deal with the problem.

Terry said that after updating the animal ordinances for the city, she planned to work with other city officials on rental ordinances and ordinances affecting dumpsters.

It will likely be early next year, she said.

About Derick Walton

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