SOUTH-CENTRAL : Landlord Fined for Slum Violations

The owner of an apartment complex was ordered to pay $10,084 in fines and costs after he pleaded no contest July 21 to criminal slum charges in Los Angeles Municipal Court.

Harold W. Dickens, a South-Central-based attorney, was sentenced by Judge Barry Taylor after entering pleas to 10 violations of fire, health, and building and safety codes at the two-story, 20-unit stucco complex he owns at 1241-1245 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Dickens was placed on three years' probation and ordered to complete repairs by Sept. 13 or face the possibility of jail time, said Deputy City Atty. Lawrence P.V. Punter, who handled the case.

Although Dickens said he will work on the improvements with "limited funds," he contends that the apartments are in livable condition. "I don't believe my buildings are in slum-like conditions," Dickens said. "The word slum, to me, is very vague."

Punter said the case was based on code violations found at the complex during city Slum Housing Task Force inspections between Jan. 26 and April 28.

Those violations included over-fused electrical panels, inadequate electrical services, missing and defective smoke detectors, inadequate fire doors, lack of heat in some units, damaged walls, windows and floors, defective plumbing, cockroach and rodent infestations, and accumulations of trash and debris around the premises.

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