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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Judge denies City of Buffalo's request for order to vacate Elmwood Heights

By Yoselin Person, Anthony Reyes,


Last week the City of Buffalo condemned the Elmwood Heights apartment complex at Elmwood and Lexington citing "unsafe living conditions."

In addition to condemning the property, the city also requested an order to vacate the property.

7 News spoke to residents in the building last week, one resident said:

“Everyone is on edge because we don’t know from day to day and don't know where we’re going to be and when they’re going to come and kick us out."

On Friday, a Buffalo Housing Court judge denied the city's request for an order to vacate.

A tenant living at the apartment building who asks not to be identified says she has been dealing with unsafe living conditions for over a year.

“People throw garbage everywhere. Homeless sleeping in the hallways. I don’t deal with that,” she expresses. “The girl upstairs she’s sick and she doesn’t know what to do.”

The tenant shows to 7 News reporter Yoselin Person the ceiling that she says is falling apart.

She even had to prop her window with a plastic bottle to have ai flow come through.

It’s all enough to make this tenant want to leave even though City Housing Court Judge Patrick M. Carney denied the city’s emergency vacate request, which means tenants will not be forced out immediately.

“Everyone is upset, stressed, they have to move out. No one doesn’t know where else to go,” the tenant says. Yoselin: “But do you have somewhere to go?” Tenant: “Yes, I got my new voucher everything. I don’t trust the landlord. I don’t trust anybody here.”

The tenant says the property owner won’t give back her $950 deposit.

A lawyer for the New York City based owner appeared in court Friday, where Judge Carney told him he’s giving the owner a month to fix the unsafe living conditions.

“The building management will take care of these items that are real easy to fix over the weekend and get an exterminator next week and do the stuff that can be done,” Attorney Richard Berger says.

The property owner has now been given a month to make certain repairs. An attorney for the owner says repairs will begin this weekend.

The case is due back in court on April 28.

Cathy Amdur, Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services released the following statement:

"I was surprised at the Judge’s decision. We have a team of inspectors addressing the issues with the building and they found extensive code violations. The building has human feces in the hallways that reek of urine, the basement is covered in a carpet of rat feces, and the structure is not secure from outside intrusion. The fire and life safety systems are not in compliance, including sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and means of egress. Our inspectors don’t request orders to vacate casually or without extensive deliberation. The code violations are so concerning that the Attorney General’s office is working with us to hold the owner accountable. Our inspectors are monitoring the situation closely and they are pressing the owner to make the necessary emergency repairs. Our main concern has been the health and safety of the tenants and surrounding community."

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