DES MOINES, Iowa – Last week tenants at the Navarre Complex at 718 15th Street were given a notice they have 30 days to pack up and leave.
The city said they were closing the building due to safety concerns. Des Moines’ Community Development Director Phil Delafield said the city stepping in is something they rarely have to do.
“Ultimately we had very little response and the situation warrants more drastic measures,” says Delafield.
City officials first contacted the building’s owner, Kent Blunck, in June 2011 about bringing the building up to code. After years of notices with little to no response it got a court order to take over the property. On Monday Blunck will get one last shot.
“There will be an inspection conducted and an updated deficiency list created and that will constitute a work plan to return the building to a occupiable state,” says Delafield.
Residents at the Navarre Complex say the building has had problems for years including power being cut to the hallways earlier this week.
“The hall light thing has happened numerous times, we went for two weeks without heat last winter, a couple of weeks without hot water at one point, the washer and dryer broke for months, so a little bit of everything,” says tenant Drew Riebhoff.
Fellow resident Doug Jones also has noticed problems around the complex.
“It’s a mess a stressful mess,” says Jones.
Jones spoke out earlier this week about the complex and its poor conditions. He says after that he was threatened by Blunck.
“I do feel like I`m getting bullied by the time you`re going to threaten and lie and tell people my rent isn’t paid, it drives me nuts,” says Jones.
If Blunck can fix the safety items like smoke detectors and fire alarms before the first of July there is a chance the building could remain open. However, many tenants like Jones say they’re moving out no matter the outcome.
“By the time you threaten me even if it is baseless it does intimidate me and bother me, I don`t like any of this, I don`t want to have to deal with any of this if I had my way I would have been out that second last night,” says Jones.
If repairs are not made in the next couple of week, tenants will still need to be out the first week of July.
However, city officials say they have contacted several service providers to help any tenants that are having trouble coming up with a deposit for a new place.