Tenants File Suit in Court over Housing Conditions

Since Feb. 23 tenants in three high-rise buildings known as the Water’s Edge at 364, 370 and 388 Ocean Ave. have been without a functioning elevator, and the issue has gone to Housing Court.

A special office by the management company of the buildings has been set up at 370 Ocean Ave. to help tenants obtain food and hotel vouchers while the elevators are not functioning.

The complaint was in Housing Court last week with Judge Jeffrey Winick, as city representatives argued to take receivership of the property.

“The judge is most concerned with the elevators,” said attorney Marc Chapdelaine, who represents the tenants.

The only means of egress are the staircases and the elevators. Some residents cannot make the journey up or down the stairs and the Revere Fire Department had to carry one man down the stairs.

In August of 2017, the City of Revere issued a report with 175 alleged code violations. The property was fined $500 per day for 38 violations totaling $19,000. A municipal hearing was held reducing the fine to $100 per violation for a total of $3,800 and Water’s Edge paid the fine. Water’s Edge has said that there are plans to hire Otis to modernize and perform maintenance on the elevators.

The property has been managed for the last 28 years by Evelyn “Kiki” Carabetta, daughter of Joseph Carabetta, who built the apartments and condominiums in 1982. There are 300 units total, 100 in each building.

In addition to a working elevator, the tenants are seeking a fire watch team, a security firm, and that all rents be deposited into an escrow account until all the buildings’ code violations are remedied.

“Water’s Edge (represented by Brown Rudnick LLP) has worked diligently over the past year to rectify issues identified by the City of Revere and the state elevator inspectors, but it has encountered numerous roadblocks, many which are outside of its own control,” said a Brown and Rudnick representative in a preliminary opposition paper to the City of Revere.

In addition, the defendant’s attorneys Brown Rudnick further states that while the elevators are out of service, residents with medical and mobility issues were offered a credit on their March rent and vouchers for hotel stays.

In addition to the elevators, the defendants have been cited by the City of Revere for continued sanitary and building code violations. Chapdelaine alleges that homeless people, used needles and used condoms were found in the stairwell, as well as clothing, food, food wrappers, human waste, and drug paraphernalia.

“The defendants’ actions are causing irreparable damage to Ms. Martha Paquette, a complainant who has been ostensibly in her ninth-floor apartment since Feb. 23 of this year,” Chapdelaine stated. “As a result of the defendant’s collective mismanagement of the fire safety system, the building is unsafe and its residents are at a greater risk.”

He has also filed a complaint and demand for a jury trial. Chapdelaine also stated they also have issues with the door locks in the building. The City of Revere put management on notice on Aug. 2, 2017, to install new electronic door-lock striker systems and there should be a doorman 24 hours a day, each day, until the city approves the entry system. The city also gave notice on Aug. 2, 2017, to management that serious safety and health violations existed at 364 Ocean Ave.

“This case is more than just the elevators,” Chapdelaine stated. “It is about the alleged deplorable conditions and those who allowed this building to degrade at the expense of the tenants safety and well-being.”

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