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Tenant: “I Just Can’t Live with That”

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — You never really know what you’re getting with most rentals until you spend a few days or weeks inside.

It took two weeks for a Springfield couple to realize the home they rented wasn’t suitable to live in.

On the outside, 146 South 15th Street looks fine. Maybe a bit of a fixer-upper, but tenant Nary Tucker was okay with that when she started renting it back in October.

“I really like this house. I like its rustic charm. That’s what I call it,” Tucker said.

But two weeks in, the Tuckers noticed a major problem with the plumbing.

“The sewer started backing up in our tub and our toilet,” Tucker said.

Raw sewage filled their bathroom and spilled outside.

“We worked on it for five or six days and never were able to fix it. But we were able to fix it enough that it was usable for at least a week,” Tucker said.

The house started to lose its “rustic charm” as the tuckers found even more issues.

“There’s no weatherization around the doors,” Tucker said.

You can see the daylight through the crack in a doorjamb.

“Our hot water heater sits on the ground,” Tucker said.

On the ground–inside.

“The laundry room leaked up until about Christmas time,” Tucker said.

Marks on the ceiling show where Tucker says the water came through.

Outside, the back porch is a pile of pallets and plywood.

Exposed live wires hang inside the garage.

The Tuckers say they paid $650 a month to live there.

The final straw came in June when Tucker says the plumbing backed up again.

“The landlord called us and left a message saying that he couldn’t keep doing this. ‘I can’t keep doing this,’ he says. ‘You’re going to have to pay to get the plumbing fixed yourself this time. It’s on your dime. And if you don’t get it fixed, we’re going to evict you,'” Tucker said. “The next day, we went to Legal Aid.”

City of Springfield spokesman Niel Laudati says she should have called the city’s building inspectors.

“They come out even as a courtesy for you to check and let you know ‘No, this is fine’ or ‘Yeah, there are some issues’ and really help you through the process,” Laudati said.

That’s exactly what inspectors did Thursday after KEZI 9 News called the city.

“There are some issues. It was obvious to them right away,” Laudati said.

Laudati says these guys have seen it all, but this house was bad.

“There’s some concern about the electrical wiring that is sticking out of the house. Anytime you see holes in the wall, inside to outside of the house, the weatherization,” Laudati said.

The inspectors will put together a report and show it to the property owner.

“When the city gets involved, we always try for voluntary assistance from the land owner,” Laudati said.

If that doesn’t happen, the next step could be condemnation.

“This property may not be safe for occupancy. That’s when the city might come in and post that. Luckily, these folks are going to be moving out. Luckily for their health and safety,” Laudati said.

We left a message for the property owner. He hasn’t returned our call yet. But the City of Springfield gave him the inspectors’ report late Thursday afternoon.

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