Metro-East News

Judge to landlord ... fix roach-filled apartments or provide new homes

Roaches infest apartments, building condemned

2917 West Blvd. is infested with roaches and has leaking toilets, leaking sinks and holes in the wall, forcing residents to leave the condemned building.
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2917 West Blvd. is infested with roaches and has leaking toilets, leaking sinks and holes in the wall, forcing residents to leave the condemned building.

A landlord, whose Belleville apartment building is infested with cockroaches and has been condemned by the St. Clair County Building and Zoning Department, has been ordered by a St. Clair County judge to make the building habitable or provide temporary housing to tenants.

In a court order filed on Monday, Jeff Thomas, who owns the apartment building at 2917 West Blvd. in Belleville, was told to “immediately address the condition” at the building, or “in the alternative provide temporary housing” for four tenants until Judge Robert LeChien makes a decision on a request for a preliminary injunction.

“The defendant has maintained the premises ... in an uninhabitable and abhorrent condition that includes, but not limited to, allowing cockroaches and other vermin to infest the several apartments, permitting noxious odors to permeate throughout the apartments and allowing human waste to leak into apartments below toilets creating (a) deplorable health hazard,” LeChien’s orders read.

A phone call to Thomas wasn’t immediately returned.

The temporary restraining orders, which are in place until Sept. 7, say the four tenants have no alternate housing.

The Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation is helping the four tenants in their cases, but representatives of the legal aid group did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

St. Clair County Building and Zoning Director Anne Markezich said the county was able to help four families find a place to stay.

Markezich has said eight of the building’s 12 units had been occupied.

Under the condemnation order issued by the county’s Building and Zoning Department, Thomas has 30 days to bring the building up to code.

Along with the roach infestation, the building has holes in the walls, leaking toilets and leaking sinks.

County zoning and building officials were alerted to the conditions by a school social worker for the Belle Valley School District.

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