BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The City of Buffalo is taking action against the owner of an apartment building in the heart of the Elmwood Village.

City inspectors have condemned the building at 597 Elmwood and now residents there are being told to find another place to live.

The city has condemned the Elmwood Heights apartment building for unsafe living conditions two days ago. The city this week, will go before a judge to get an order for residents to vacate the premises.

The future for residents at Elmwood Heights is coming into focus after years of problems.

The condemnation notice says smoke detectors are not fully operational and there’s no certificate for inspection for the sprinkler system.

Outside, you can see parts of the building are falling apart.

“They said they were going to fix somethings, when I moved in and no one ever did,” said Tracey Thomas, a resident there. She says she’s been living here for four years and things have only gotten worse.

“It’s gotten to be really hectic, a lot of drug use and the ceiling tile, like the apartment is just unsafe, there’s water draining down, asbestos exposed, mold, stuff like that just unsafe for human occupancy,” Thomas said.

Neighbors say they can’t stand the problems as well.

“We can’t even have family gatherings for birthdays, graduations or anything because of the noise and just the things that are happening there,” one resident said at city council meeting Tuesday, “I have two grand children and I do not want them learning how to walk around the block from Anderson to Ashland up Lexington and down Elmwood because it’s crazy.”

Elmwood Heights was sued two years ago for defaulting on a mortgage payment — the principal balance of the mortgage at the time was $600,000. With interest and late fees — court documents say the owners owe more than a million dollars. The property is in the process of being foreclosed on.

After hundreds of citations and no response from the owner of Elmwood Heights, city officials say they’ve been left with little options.

“Working through the court system is unfortunately, the best the legal system offers us,” said Cathy Amdur, the commissioner of the city’s Permit and Inspection Services. Amdur adds that Buffalo Police have increased patrols there.

With residents unfortunately, caught in the middle, they are now looking for another home.

If the order to vacate is approved by a judge, people with housing vouchers will be told to contact their case managers. People without housing vouchers will be sent to the city’s rapid rehousing program. News 4 has attempted to contact lawyers for the owners of the property, but we haven’t had any luck.

A sign on the building still says tenants can send their rent checks to a P.O. Box in the New York City area.

Latest Posts

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.