WILDWOOD — After almost 100 arrests at his properties on Youngs Avenue, on Aug. 14 a hearing will decide if John Liebel, of Perkasie Pa., a landlord here, will lose his permit to rent.
If the permits are revoked, Joseph Henry will be one neighbor that won’t be sorry to see the “animal house” go.
Liebel has four small bungalow properties, at 117-119 East Youngs Ave.
But appearances can be deceiving.
The small properties house an estimated 32 tenants, many of those under 21, with a total of 99 arrests in a two-year period.
Sitting in his back yard and relaxing is no longer possible, he added.
Henry recounted how there has been trash thrown on his property and tenants have used his roof and lawn as an es-cape route when authorities arrive. The noise and destruction is also an issue, he said.
Henry said that he has complained to the police and local officials, but the problem wasn’t solved.
So after winning $500 in small claims court for damages to his property Henry’s attorney, Frederick Jacob, asked the city to file a complaint against Liebel under an ordinance informally known at the “Animal House Law.”
According to that ordi-nance, if two convictions occur at a property for “disorderly, indecent, tumultuous or riotous conduct or offences,” within a 12-month pe-riod, commissioners can hold a hearing where a property owner must defend their right to rent the property.
“We need more Joe Henrys,” Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr., said at a July 25 commissioner’s meet-ing. “He’s the kind of person that is determined to change his neighbor-hood.”
Henry told commis-sioners that he wants to be present at the upcoming hearing and hopes to testify.
“I have a lot invested in this,” he said.
“There are so many positive things going on here,” added Henry. “That’s why I’m still here.”
“One of the biggest problems with properties like that,” said Commissioner Bill Davenport, “is absentee landlords.”
Troiano said that 16 similar properties have been shut down this summer. He urged any-one having a problem with difficult properties to notify the city.
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