Latrobe rental properties condemned by the city for multiple code violations

LATROBE, Pa. — Two rental properties owned by the same landlord in Latrobe have been condemned by the city, which cites multiple code violations.

Patricia Brungardt has lived at 1522 Ligonier Street for the past two years. She said she isn’t surprised her home is being condemned.

“I kind of thought it was coming,” she told Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek.

Her biggest issue? The home she rents doesn’t have heat and hasn’t for years.

“Since before I moved in here,” Brungardt said. “The boiler system needs to be replaced but the landlord refused to. That’s why they condemned it.”

Havranek spoke with Terry Carcella, the Latrobe City Manager, on the phone.

He said the lack of heat is one of the reasons the home is being condemned.

He also said the city has received complaints about the smell of animal urine and feces from the home and backyard.

He said at times there were a dozen cats, eight dogs, reptiles, and birds -- which is more than the home could handle.

It’s one of two buildings owned by the same landlord condemned by the city.

“It wasn’t livable or nothing, you know? The ceiling where he showed it, it was caving in. When it rained it would leak,” said William Grimm, the cousin of a former tenant at 1207 Ligonier Street.

Grimm said when his cousin got the condemnation letter, they found a place in Derry Township and moved away.

“The insulation is terrible,” Grimm said. “The wood is rotten and everything.”

The city tells Channel 11 1207 Ligonier didn’t have gas service or running water after a water pipe broke inside months ago. Those who lived in the two apartments had to use bottled water.

The city said the property owner was making no attempts to fix it.

Letters from the city also cite interior and exterior issues at both buildings.

Donald Paxton owns the properties. His chiropractic office is also located at 1207 Ligonier. Havranek tried multiple phone numbers but was unable to reach him for comment.

Grimm is glad the city is taking blight seriously.

“Something has to be done, you know? Because people can’t live in conditions like this,” he said.

Brungardt said she and her family found a new place to live in Indiana County and have started the moving process. She had advice for other tenants in the same boat.

“Just don’t give up,” she said. “Can’t give up.”

The property owner can appeal the condemnation of these two buildings. The city said an appeal has not yet been filed.

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