Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Absentee landlords seen as a primary cause of Parkway Gardens problems

Gardens

A pedestrian walks past an entrance to the Parkway Gardens condominium complex on East Pacific Avenue in Fairfield. A dysfunctional homeowners association, along with absentee landlords, are some of the causes of crime and other problems that have affected the complex in recent years. (Adam Smith/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | February 21, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Absentee landlords and a dysfunctional homeowners association board are primary causes of crime and other problems at Parkway Gardens, says the man appointed to oversee the association for the condominium development.

Ben McGrew, appointed by the Solano County Superior Court as receiver after a Parkway Gardens resident’s legal challenge to the homeowners association, said that about 170 of the 240 units are rented and that crimes and other problems almost always involve rentals.

“It is these units and the inaction of irresponsible owners that have caused or significantly contributed to the problems,” McGrew wrote in a court filing earlier this month.

Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy agrees with McGrew about the condominium complex, where a Dec. 9 shooting left a man wounded about 15 feet from the pool and a Jan. 3 homicide on El Verano Court killed Terrell Brumfield, 21, of Fairfield.

Moy said condo owners who rent units don’t screen tenants well.

“Some people who are bad actors will be evicted from one condo and another owner will let them rent,” she said. “These people hop from one condo to another,” Moy said.

Much of the crime at the complex involves marijuana sales, she said.

Parkway Gardens ends up with people who are magnets for “other bad actors from throughout the city and throughout the Bay Area,” she said.

The situation spurred the City Council’s approval Tuesday of an urgency ordinance to expand municipal powers for tenant screening and other goals, Moy said.

“We are not going to tolerate this behavior by the people who are absentee landlords,” the councilwoman said.

She said the city is pouring many police resources into the condominium complex when Fairfield doesn’t have enough officers to handle everything taking place in the community.

“We need these resources” to police elsewhere in Fairfield, Moy said, “instead of inside Parkway Gardens all the time.”

The Solano County Superior Court appointed McGrew as receiver after Janice Eaton, who lives at Parkway Gardens, filed a 2013 legal challenge to the homeowners association. The association, on which Eaton once served as a director, failed to maintain the required five-member board, and the city of Fairfield in a later filing stated that the lack of a board affects the ability to police crime and enforce city codes at the development built in the 1970s.

McGrew in his court filing this month stated that he has informed the company hired to provide armed security guards that their contract is ending. McGrew is seeking other security companies with more specific experience about the situation Parkway Gardens faces.

McGrew also wrote that nearly $300,000 in outstanding homeowner association dues are uncollected and some date back more than eight years. Some condo units have unpaid dues of more than $40,000, he stated.

The court receiver also said he’s engaged a certified public accountant to review financial statements of the homeowners association and to prepare state and federal tax returns. Efforts to attract candidates to serve on the association board, McGrew noted, have produced only a few applicants for the five-member panel.

Before he began his receivership work, four condo units along Del Sur Court burned and the association board didn’t remedy the problem, McGrew said. He has worked with insurers and contractors for $207,100 in contracts for work at the sites, the receiver said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • Rich GiddensFebruary 20, 2014 - 7:32 pm

    What goes on at the Parkway Gardens Complex is what goes on in all of Solano County's neighborhoods. Yes, rentals are full of no-gooders who won't behave, control their fatherless kids, take the garbage out, perform home and landscape maintenance along with their proclivity to engage in nuisance activities----subletting, drug dealing, car repair / chop shops / spray painting, vandalism, loud party noise after 10 pm 7 days a week, truancy, littering. The Authorities have seemingly given up and have a smug cavalier attitude about all of this with them typically telling us homeowners, Seniors and Vets--- "there's nothing we can do---we don't have the resources" and city hall officials telling us to shut up and "go get a life". Enough! Your entire State is a joke and it's not livable, governable, reformable or redeemable now. The rest of the United States is watching and telling Congress to cut California off with the budget axe.

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  • The MisterFebruary 21, 2014 - 6:20 am

    "Absentee landlords and a dysfunctional homeowners association board are primary causes of crime (in this complex)." Isn't that like saying that the Mayor and the Councilmembers are the primary causes of crime in Fairfield? I'll agree that the landlords, homeowners association board, the Mayor, and Councilmembers are responsible for allowing a crime-ridden environment to develop... but really, isn't it the crooks who are the primary causes of crime?

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  • blanca botwinFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:34 am

    @TheMister. Yes. The crooks/dealers are the problem, but this is Solano County, where everyone blames someone else, and no one fixes the problem. Did you notice how there was NO mention of the shootout where 2 buyers ended up dead, and the seller/shooter WALKED AWAY CHARGE FREE.

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  • MrsSmith2013February 21, 2014 - 9:44 am

    I was thinking the same thing. Often times Shady people hide things from their landlords. Example: When I lived at my old "luxury" apartment complex In FF, there was family that lived underneath me. The lease was for 2 adults and a baby, but they had 6 people living there. We'd report them time and time again, but because the landlord is required to give 24 hour notice, they'd magically be gone every time, and then back that evening. And this was a property with onsite management. It's not the landlords. I agree that they may need to screen tenants better, but sometimes the even "perfect" tenants have a bad boy/girl boy/girlfriend/cousin/son/grandchild etc. that illegally moves in without the landlord knowing. Lets put the blame where it really belongs, on the criminals committing the crimes.

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  • Rich GiddensFebruary 21, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    Mrs. Smith---thats whats called ''subletting'' or ''zooing out the neighborhood''. Nothing is more annoying then an endless line of people and their kids moving in and out of a residence. I wonder about the children and their chances for some semblence of a normal ife.

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  • B. ThiemerFebruary 21, 2014 - 9:45 am

    I'm curious how many units are section 8 /subsidized housing units. If the landlord and/or tenant are creating problems, does that get back to the housing authority and their eligibility gets revoked?

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