Tenants displaced as city closes decrepit building

CENTRAL GLENDALE — Crews on Wednesday worked to restore gas to a 20-unit apartment building on Chestnut Street nearly five days after code inspectors declared it uninhabitable, a move that displaced dozens of tenants.

The Southern California Gas Co. turned off the gas and removed the meter from the building on the 100 block of West Chestnut Street Friday afternoon. Sam Engel, the city’s neighborhood services administrator said the landlord, Paula Boyd, didn’t pay the bill.

Boyd, 44, of South Pasadena, also owes Glendale Water & Power more than $20,000 in outstanding bills, he said.

Citing customer privacy policies, Southern California Gas spokeswoman Denise King declined to confirm whether an outstanding bill had anything to do with the shut-off, but did verify Boyd’s claims of a gas leak, which crews discovered on Monday when they returned to restore service.

King said crews were on track to restore service

late Wednesday or today.

City code inspector Tom Soler yellow-tagged the building on Friday after — following up on a tenant complaint — he discovered that the residents didn’t have access to heating and couldn’t use stoves.

Tenants were prohibited from occupying their apartments until the tag was removed and code inspectors determined that the building is inhabitable.

“We wanted to make sure the tenants weren’t living there because there was no heat,” Engel said.

Three to four tenants reside in each of the building’s 20 one-bedroom apartments, he added.

Most tenants weren’t home when the building was tagged, Soler said.

Residents who were at the building were advised to stay with friends, relatives or a motel, and were given the option of staying at shelter, he said. They were also notified of their tenant rights.

“They were taken aback,” Soler said.

Engel said that Boyd has a long history of code violations, which he said she has not addressed.

City attorneys filed a 14-count criminal complaint on March 30 against Boyd, alleging she maintained inadequate sanitation and hazardous conditions at the building, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

The building had broken windows, lacked cold and hot running water, and was infested with roaches and bed bugs, according to the complaint, in which city attorneys also alleged that she maintained junk and debris in front of the building, failed to install smoke detectors in bedrooms and performed illegal construction without permits.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in Glendale issued a $10,000-arrest warrant for Boyd after she failed to appear for a hearing on Friday, Assistant City Atty. Carmen Merino said.

On Wednesday, Boyd said she was unaware that a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

She also blamed her property manager for substandard conditions of the building, adding that she had recently taken over the property and was trying to correct any violations.

“We try to do what we can to make the place nice and affordable,” she said. “We are trying to provide affordable housing, which is rare these days.”

Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at the building is roughly $700, she said.

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