Porterdale cited an Oxford landlord for 10 code violations possibly totaling thousands of dollars in fines for a Spruce Street house where, among other things, the toilet and bathtubs would not drain and the doors would not latch.
City and police officials cited the house’s caretaker, Curtis Jackson, for violations that included the drains, not calling an exterminator for an extensive roach and rat problem, not fixing the rotted front and back doors so they would latch and lock and not correctly and securely installing the windows.
“It’s unbelievable you could rent a dwelling to someone in that condition,” police Chief Geoff Jacobs said.
Jackson appeared in municipal court in Porterdale Monday evening and asked for a continuance until he could hire an attorney. His next appearance is scheduled for Feb. 27.
He submitted a letter to the city, dated Jan. 19, saying that he intends to file a lawsuit for “violation of civil rights.”
Jackson could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to municipal court records, Jackson was cited for multiple code violations at 9 Spruce St., a house listed as owned by A. W. Jackson, according to the Newton County Tax Assessor’s office. Oxford city officials said A. W. Jackson, who is Curtis Jackson’s father, is deceased.
Curtis Jackson collects rent for the house, though he denied being the owner to the city, from a woman who lives there with a young boy.
One of the citations was for a nonfunctioning bathtub, according to city records. Jacobs, who assisted in the inspection and issued citations on Nov. 30, said the tub would not drain. Pictures of the property taken in October show a small plastic container catching liquid dripping from pipes under the house.
Another citation was issued for a wide-open and exposed electrical panel. “There’s an electrical box inside where all the wires were exposed, where a child could stick his hand in and get electrocuted,” Jacob said.
Several other images obtained from the municipal court, showed rotted wooden siding on the house, rotted doors and door jambs and broken windows covered either with plastic or press-board wood.
The old siding was removed and two large pieces of wood were nailed to the house. All of the windows have been replaced, but Jacobs said they are not secure.
Another citation for not having enough outlets was issued because extension cords were run through the house to provide power to various lights and appliances.
One citation was for sanitation because of a build up of bat feces in the fire place. The chimney was not sealed, allowing water and bats to enter.
The city hires Robert Swanson as its inspector on a per-case basis. Jacobs said he would like the city to hire him at least part time. The Spruce Street property was inspected in October, and again in November, according to court records.City officials have said they intend to take a harder line with landlords whose properties are in extremely poor condition. Each violation of the code carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum jail sentence, if any, of six months.
“We’ve got this campaign going on and these landlords are going to have to get their properties up to snuff or they’ll have to pay,” Jacobs said. “All we’re asking for is compliance. We don’t want to drag anyone into court, but when they’re difficult, where we work it out is in court.”