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Posted on: March 22, 2019

City inspectors working to make local apartment building safe for tenants

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South Lake Tahoe, CA- Building inspectors and development services staff conducted a 90-day inspection at a local apartment building today and found that it continues to have unsafe living conditions.

Barts Tahoe Apartments have had issues dating back to the 1970s, and the City’s current effort is to bring this property up to minimum standards required by the State building and safety codes and our own Multi-Family Dwelling (MFD) program.

“Our MFD program is designed to make sure people in the City of South Lake Tahoe have a safe place to live,” said Kevin Fabino, Director of Development Services, “If there are issues with a multi-family property it also allows us to see those and get them resolved.”

Barts Tahoe has been in the MFD program since 2005. During their first MFD inspection, several units were condemned due to mold caused by water intrusion. Things have not gotten better since then.

In January of last year, the property went through their routine inspection, and we saw many issues including a damaged parking area, mold, pests, signs of flooding, flooring and structural damage. At the re-inspection in May, the problems persisted. By the November inspection, the problems had not been fixed, and things were getting worse.

“As part of the MFD program, property owners are required to make corrections. Bart's Tahoe has done the bare minimum,” said Fabino, “This property has never fully complied with the minimum standards.”

As a result of ongoing issues and a lack of willingness to fix the problems, the City issued a formal Notice and Order to repair and abate on December 10th. That requires a 10, 30, and 90-day inspection.

Today’s 90-day inspection showed the problems had not been fixed, and there was little effort on the part of the property owner to get these problems resolved.

In fact, city staff had to call the fire department today after a faulty heater was discovered. It was causing CO2 levels in that apartment to reach very dangerous levels. Wall temperatures around that heater reached 176 degrees and the fire department opened up the wall to make sure everything was safe.

No building permit application or plans have been received for most of the required corrections. A building permit was issued to the owner on January 18, 2019, for minor electrical and plumbing repairs but a re-inspection was never requested for those items. 

Barts Tahoe was also placed on Fire Watch as a result of this notice and order. That means the property contained significant fire hazards and someone was supposed to be patrolling it 24 hours a day. That also hasn’t happened, and the property owner continues to be cited as a result. The property remains on fire watch until further notice.

“We want the owners of Barts Tahoe to live up to their responsibility of providing safe and secure housing for people in South Lake Tahoe,” said Chris Fiore, Communications Manager, “We hope this serves as a message to other property owners too, the City will not stand for properties that aren’t safe and secure. We have taken action here, and we’ll continue to.”

The case has been turned over to the City Attorney to evaluate next steps, which may include petitioning the court to appoint a receiver to make the necessary repairs.

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