November 05, 2023 6:21 pm
• Last Updated: November 05, 2023 6:21 pm
Montville ― Two months after gas lines were removed from a condominium building at 23 Georgia Road ― forcing tenants to either leave or live without heat, hot water or gas stoves ― two tenants who still live there are facing another utility shutoff.
One of them, Priscilla Dolzenchuk, who occupies Unit 15, said that on Nov. 15, the water will be shut off. The other tenant declined to comment.
Dolzenchuk said her landlord, Irmgard Boling, had told her about the shutoff. Boling said she was told by the handyman who does repairs for her units, who relayed the information from the town’s building inspector.
Yankee Gas had already removed the gas lines and meters on the eight-unit building in August because of fears that pressure on the gas lines ― resulting from the sinking of the building’s foundation ― could lead to an explosion.
A water pipe had burst in Dolzenchuk’s apartment in July, which had caused it to flood, and resulted in the removal of flooring from her living room. She’s left standing on concrete or rugs.
Dolzenchuck, who has been living in the unit for months with no living room floor, said she’s trying not to let the news about the water stress her out.
“I can’t afford another apartment because the rents are really high,” she said last week.
Before her unit flooded, Dolzenchuck said she was paying $1,000 a month in rent. Since then, Boling has not charged her any money to live in Unit 15, she said.
Now, Dolzenchuck is packing her things and getting ready to move into a property owned by her brother, but there is currently a tenant living there, she said.
Her brother has given the tenant 45 days notice to vacate so that she can move in, and she said and she plans to move the same day the water is shut off.
“I love living here, but it’s just not feasible anymore,” Dolzenchuk said.
After the July incident in Dolzenchuk’s apartment, the building department had inspected the premises, and, finding that the building was still sinking, wrote Quinn Kelly, a managing agent from U.S. Properties Real Estate Management Services, LLC hired on the association’s behalf.
Ken Barber, a member of the association’s board of directors, which is made up of elected unit owners, said Kelly works for the association and does not operate independently.
The building department had revealed structural concerns consistent with a study done by CLA Engineers Inc. in 2019, and required that a plan for action be submitted within 30 days, and all the structural violations be remedied within six months.
Attorney Gregory McCraken, who represents the condominium association, wrote back to the building department in August that the association did not have enough money to hire a professional engineer to put together the work plan to satisfy the building department’s request, and that the 30-day deadline was not sufficient for the association to attempt to raise the funds necessary for the repairs.
McCracken said the association’s executive board would need an assessment of the cost of the repairs so that unit owners could have a “clear picture of what they must do and what it will cost.”
It would not be “tenable,” he wrote, for the board of directors to approach them repeatedly to fund the work in piecemeal manner, or in other words a little bit at a time.
“We are trying to follow the course of action that is recommended by our attorney,” Barber said last month in reference to McCracken.
Barber said he believed the condominium association was not to blame for the lack of repairs throughout the years, adding that the association has attempted multiple times to obtain financing to repair the structural issues, but been turned down by banks.
Meanwhile, votes to perform the repairs have been presented to unit owners several times, dating back before Kelly’s involvement, Barber said, but have not resulted in any action.
“We called a special meeting inviting each individual owner” he said. “They could respond either by mail or in person. Sometimes they just don’t show up.”
Boling said back in September that the cost of doing the repairs in 2019 would have been around $800,000.