FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
The boarded-up apartment complex on University Avenue in Southeast Fresno is one of the blighted properties targeted by Fresno’s anti-slum enforcement team (ASET). Deputy City Attorney Christina Roberson outlined the problems to the City Council.
“There were numerous significant violations as you can see, holes in ceilings, walls the continuous problem with transients and squatters that would break into the property on an almost weekly basis,” said Roberson.
Anti-Slum Enforcement Status Report
Using the ASET program the city went to court to get the building taken from the owner. The court turned it over to a receiver, who will fix it up, then sell it to recover costs.
The council approved forming the ASET team last year, and Assistant Director Kelli Furtado is in charge and she is going after negligent property owners.
“We have thousands of violations that we have brought into compliance,” said Furtado.
City inspectors found 548 code violations in this complex on Olive Avenue. The company that owns it is now in the process of fixing it up.
The city is relying on inspectors, tenants, and neighbors to report substandard properties. Assistant City Attorney Felicia Espinoza says owners are given plenty of chances to make repairs.
“The first thing is we reach out to a property owner even before an inspection, let them know we are about to do an inspection, your on our radar,” said Felicia Espinoza.
The ASET program was approved last year and is just getting up to speed with the hiring of inspectors.
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Some successes include this home, which had been full of squatters, who stole power from neighbors. A court order took it from the owner, the receiver has restored it and its now for sale.
The goal is voluntary compliance, but the message from the city to negligent property owners is.
“We’ll be coming and we will be checking out your property and if it is not brought into compliance quickly we have a lot of tools we can use now that we can bring into compliance,” said Furtado.
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