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Letter to the Editor

Can anyone help us?

September 30, 2010
Estherville News

To the EDN:

I wrote in several weeks ago about the condition of rental properties here in Estherville. Here we are, months later, with no change in our situation.

I reported our house to the City Administrator, Penny Clayton. Her response? "At this time, there is nothing I can do about the interior of the property, however, I will be filing a minimum housing code violation in response to the leaky roof. This process takes quite a bit of time, so please be patient with us." No real help.

I spent the remainder of the summer looking for a place to move to. I put ads on and the local radio station. I scoured every paper that I could get my hands on. I even went to the housing authority who said that we needed a 4-5 bedroom house for our family size and that none exist.

Finally, the last week on August, our landlord delivered the materials with the promise to return later in the week and start the project. A month later they still sit (partially on our neighbors driveway, might I add). We have heard NOTHING from our landlord.

In the meantime, the condition of our collapsed roof has continued to deteriorate. Our entire upstairs now smells like MOLD!

Finally, here is the clincher. Because of our income, we qualified for Upper Des Moines to come in and do some upgrades on the house. They replaced the hot water heater and the furnace, and promised to do the insulation in the new roof when it was finished. At NO charge to our landlord. It's now close to the end of the season and they have called several times asking if our roof was done so they can complete their project.

I am concerned because the furnace that Upper DesMoines put in is smaller than the one they took out, perfect size for a house WITH A FIXED ROOF. If my roof does not get finished before winter, I am afraid that we will end up with heating bills that we simply can not afford. Not to mention the safety of mold in our house!

I am just aghast at how we have been treated. It seems that the system here is so broken that people like us can be taken advantage of, with no recourse. I feel totally betrayed by this system. We can't force our landlord to fix a problem and can't find any way to move away from it.

ILCC has a state of the art Wind Turbine program that is attracting people from all over the country, but yet the housing situation is beyond deplorable. Unfortunately, we will have a hard time recommending an excellent school program based on the sud-standard housing in the area.

Frankly, my family can't wait to move away from here. My husband won't finish school until May, so obviously I need my roof fixed NOW.

Kris Newton,




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