Last week, I was contacted by a longtime tenant at the Pingry Arms apartment building, one of Plainfield’s Connolly-owned properties, about the horrible living conditions of his apartment and the resultant stress. He writes: “my home and my nerves are being ruined and I can't even sleep. There is no emergency response from Connolly Properties. My home smells bad and my floors are wet and buckled.”
After receiving this complaint, I immediately contacted City Administrator Bibi Taylor by email with a copy to the Mayor. My goal was to get the city's Inspections and Health departments involved, since the situation, in my mind, was about the health and safety of this tenant. The city responded immediately and is continuing its efforts to have the situation addressed.
However, I continued to receive emails from this tenant over the weekend about the worsening conditions in his apartment and in the building. So, I decided to visit the Pingry Arms in person, at the tenant's invitation, to survey the damage for myself; I was shocked at what I saw.
Paint was peeling from walls and ceilings, ceilings were buckling under the weight of saturation, the floor tiles were buckling from the “mini-ponds” of water that pooled beneath, the walls and carpets were saturated with water and stained as if they were exposed to the elements, and I saw a roof that is in urgent need of repair. The conditions that exist in this building cry out for immediate and urgent attention.
As long as people are forced to live in such deplorable conditions, they are being conned by an apparently unscrupulous landlord; as long as unscrupulous landlords continue to put pressure on tenants to move from floor to floor in an effort to avoid or postpone needed repairs, the tenants are being conned; if the city does not put the full force of its inspections division and our court system to work to compel Connolly Properties to comply with the city's building maintenance codes, in the interest of public health and safety, the tenants are being conned; if the courts refuse to impose the maximum penalties upon Connolly Properties, which should include incarceration until all repairs are done professionally and satisfactorily, the tenants would be forever conned.
Anytime a tenant is forced to live in the deplorable conditions that I witnessed at the Pingry Arms apartment building, with ceilings falling, floors buckling, and water gushing under one’s feet, the health and safety of that individual has been compromised.
As the city moves forward on this issue, I also encourage all tenants in the affected apartments to use the law to their advantage in filing suit against Connolly Properties to remedy this deplorable situation.
I have included a photo of the ceiling damage in the interior of the tenant’s home; you, too, will be outraged by this appalling image.