MONTICELLO — Residents of an historic building in the Village of Monticello are being displaced after a building inspection last week found it unsafe and uninhabitable.
“Just the general conditions of the building just warranted us taking a step finally,” said Monticello Mayor Gary Sommers.
The Heritage Inn on Broadway has been run down for a number of years and its condition has been an issue going back to the early 2000s during Sommers' first stint as mayor, he said.
Bedbugs, cockroaches, spongy floors, faulty fire alarms and faulty carbon monoxide detectors were found by the village's building inspector, according to Sommers.
There are also concerns about the building's sprinkler system, Sommers said.
Monticello gave owner Julie Chen until the end of the month to close the building, the mayor added.
Construction of the building dates back to 1806, according to Chen, who has owned it for 17 years.
Some tenants have already moved out, but Chen estimated 20 units are still occupied out of 68.
The Sullivan County Division of Health and Family Services had five people housed there who have since vacated, according to Bill Moon, deputy commissioner of the department.
Since notifying the tenants, Chen said those remaining are living there rent-free.
She hopes to be able to fix up the building and re-open it.
“The building needs some work and the only way to make sure it’s done right is to close it down and do the work," Chen added. "With the tenants around, it’ll be hard to do what I have to do.”
Steven Spicer has lived at the Heritage Inn for two years. With less than two weeks before the building is shut down, Spicer said he doesn't know what he's going to do or where he's going to go given the limited rental options available in the area.
He said he only found out that he has to move on Friday.
Spicer receives Social Security disability benefits and doesn't receive his check until the beginning of each month, making it difficult for him and others there in the same situation to put together the money needed to move, pay the first month's rent at a new place and a security deposit, he said.
"I don't see where it's fair at all," Spicer added. "You put us behind the eight ball."
Sommers urged anyone having trouble relocating to contact the county's division of health and family services.