Batavia Motel condemned, residents say they were given little notice to move
Submitted by Howard Owens on December 18, 2010 - 2:41pm
Seven residents of the Batavia Motel, 3768 W. Main St. Road, were told Thursday evening they had less than 24 hours to vacant the premises.
The Town of Batavia condemned the building because of numerous code violations.
Resident Eric Duda, who was made manager of the complex about seven months ago -- but still had to pay rent -- said he and his fiancé were able to find lodging for themselves and their 10-month-old infant.
But he said everything he owns is stored in rooms and there's no money to move it to other storage on such short notice.
"I figure I'm going to lose all of my possessions," said Duda, whose last extension for unemployment compensation ran out last week.
DSS helped him and his family move, temporarily, into the Mark Trail Motel, but he couldn't take his dog, and as of about 6 p.m. last night, he didn't know what he was going to do with his pet.
The motel has two detached wings. One of the wings has been vacant for some period of time because of a fire in the main office.
All of the residents lived in units on the east side of the property.
The property is owned by Panchal Bhupendrabhai (Duda called him "Sonny"), who lives in Irving, Texas. The assessed value is $55,000. He acquired the 2.9-acre parcel in 2007 from Sarojbahen Patel for $1, who acquired it in 2006 for $55,000.
Earlier this month, the Town of Batavia authorized a purchase offer of $85,000 to acquire the parcel, which adjoins Kiwanis Park.
Supervisor Greg Post said the condemnation and interest in buying the property are unrelated matters.
The town has been interested since about 2007 or 2008.
"It's a matter of public record," Post said.
He added that "If there were a proper offer to sell the property, we would be willing to negotiate to buy the property."
Post said the living arrangements are a matter between the landlord and tenants.
"We certainly gave the owner time to comply (with code requirements)," Post said.
Still, the condemnation caught residents by surprised, and they all made quick trips to the Department of Social Services on Friday looking for help.
Maken Ithnnascheri, just moved into room #22 on Monday and spent every dime he had on the move and making the space habitable, including repairs and paint. He said he has nowhere to go and no place to take all of his possessions.
"I put a nice penny into it," he said. "They came here late last night and said we had to be out by five o’clock, and there’s no way. I have no place else to go. Where are we going to go in the cold?”
"Everything I have in the world," he added, "is in that room."
Ithnnascheri said he isn't currently eligible for DSS assistance to help him find new lodging.
The motel is in quite a state of disrepair, Duda acknowledged. He said the roof over three rooms leaks, there are broken doors and windows and several other problems with the property.
“It’s really just lots of little things," Duda said. "I just don’t know how it lasted as long as it did.”
Over the summer, he and the other tenants put a riser and cement cover over the septic tank, but it still leaks into the woods behind the motel.
The landlord has made various deals with tenants to make repairs at a discount but nothing ever seems to get done, Duda said.
He doesn't take issue with the condemnation, only the timing of it.
"It's something that I don’t understand," Duda said. "In order for a landlord to evict you, you've got 30 days. So how can the town come in and say you’ve got 24 hours and that’s it?
"I don’t know why he (the code enforcement officer) didn’t do this in the summer time when it would be easier for people to move," he added.