CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston building inspectors said an apartment on the city's East End condemned Thursday for bug infestations and unsafe conditions had never been inspected.
Charleston's new inspection program is only one year old. That program requires an initial inspection of all rental properties and requires random follow-up inspections every two years.
However, there's a large backlog in rental units needing inspected. For the approximately 10,000 rental properties in the city, a little more than half are registered, Charleston Building Commissioner Tony Harmon said.
Tenants complained about the living conditions at 1411 Jackson St. to the landlord for a long time, but nothing was done until someone complained to the Building Commission on Thursday, Harmon said.
Inspectors found an infestation of rats, cockroaches and lice in all of the apartment's seven units, Harmon said. They saw that many units didn't have working heating units or smoke detectors. All units were also closed with padlocks on the outside and inside. Many tenants shared a kitchen, a bathtub and one toilet.
Inspectors immediately closed the building and cited the landlord, Timothy Harold Stone, 44, with 13 violations of the International Property Maintenance Code, Harmon said.
The 15 people living there must now find new places to live by Monday. Inspectors posted signs on every unit's door condemning it for unsafe conditions.
If officials had given the building an initial inspection, they might have noticed some of the deplorable conditions, Harmon said.
But inspectors are prevented sometimes from entering apartments without permission of the landlord and tenants.
That building never came up for a random inspection either. Inspectors average about 50 or 60 random inspections a week, Harmon said.