Landlord fined for violating Green Bay rental practices

GREEN BAY – Green Bay is cracking down on rental property owners.

The city wrapped up its first tenant-landlord court case under a new program.

This case involved poor living conditions at a home, which were never fixed.

Brian Harrell rented the house on Lincoln St. for $900 a month last June.

He says for months he and his family lived with plumbing issues, unsafe handrails and mold.

“Every time it was mentioned it was like, yeah we’ll get it, we’ll have someone there this week. A week would go by and nothing,” said Harrell, who has since moved.

Harrell agreed to do the repairs. However, he says the landlord, Derek Anderson, didn’t follow through on his end of the deal.

“I was supposed to get paid, the material was supposed to come in, but the materials never showed up,” said Harrell.

Harrell turned to the city. Inspectors found dozens of violations. But orders to fix the problems were ignored.

“I can tell you that this is a very blatant case and it to me this is a landlord that acts with complete disregard for the health and safety of the tenant,” said residential housing investigator Bob Zaspel.

Anderson ended up pleading no contest to charges of violating the city’s residential rental practices ordinance and was fined just more than $16,000.

We wanted to talk with Anderson, but he referred questions to his attorney. The attorney would only speak with me on the phone.

He says his client was trying to help someone out by giving him a break on rent in exchange for making repairs. The attorney claims the renter had the materials, but never did the work.

Zaspel says renters should also be more proactive.

“Tenants really have to take a good look at the property, do a thorough inspection of the property before you commit to renting it,” said Zaspel.

Zaspel says he is looking into other rentals Anderson owns. He says there are some more troubled properties.

However, Anderson’s attorney says none have code violations.

Zaspel says he tries to work with landlords before any case is brought to court.

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