Newton apartment building found to be an unfit dwelling

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Last Monday, residents of a Newton apartment building came home to a sign from the Newton Fire Department stating their home was an unfit dwelling. They were told to vacate immediately and that the ownership had 10 days to appeal the decision.

The property, located at 124 E. Fourth St. N. is managed by Easy Keep Management, located in Newton. In an interview Monday, the companys management stated the only issue was a fire escape that was being serviced after being struck by a vehicle.

Easy Keep said it was working on fixing the fire escape and that it is cooperating with the city.

In an interview Tuesday, Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik confirmed that Easy Keep had indeed been working with the city but said there were other problems in addition to the fire escape. Wellik wouldnt specify what the issues are but provided an update on the building.

The situation is there were numerous violations of our current rental code that were unsafe for people to basically be living there, Wellik said. A week ago, the fire marshal (Mike Knoll) placarded the building as being unfit for human habitation due to some of those issues.

Clifford Sholley has been staying at the 124 building for the last four months to help his elderly parents. He shed some light on his experiences there.

The people that own the place dont want to do nothing with it, Sholley said.

Sholley said he has some experience with contracting and managing property and offered his services to Easy Keep to make some repairs in the building but said they never got back to him. He also claimed the building has black mold which is a hazard to people with allergies and lung problems and an infestation of roaches and bed bugs.

In 2010, another property that was then managed by Easy Keep at 321 E. Eighth St. S. was cited by the Jasper County Board of Health for bed bugs and also supposedly contained roaches and black mold.

Its a tax write-off. Anytime they shut a building down, they can use it as a loss and tax write-off they dont give a (expletive) about the people here, Sholley alleged.

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Newton apartment building found to be an unfit dwelling

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