Homeowners Turned Renters
The Martinez family has owned a small, modest home in Fresno for years, through unforeseen financial struggles a mortgage had to be taken out. They were unable to pay off the mortgage or get the house up to code; no matter how many thousands of dollars they spent, it was never enough.
JD Home Rentals bought the house and currently owns it, renting it back out to the Martinez family. Once the house was purchased by JD Home Rentals, code enforcement stopped coming by to ensure that the house was still being brought up to code. Implying perhaps a certain level of trust that the rental company would continue the work the Martinez’ started and get the house up to code. This was not the case, as JD Home Rentals and code enforcement have not worked together to ensure that the house is brought up to code. As a result the foundation of the house is collapsing and the kitchen has become visibly slanted. JD Home Rentals covered the rotting wood beams of the foundation with a cheap laminate, but now there are places in the flooring that the family cannot step on for fear of falling through.
The Martinez’ adult son has tried to fix the few shoddy repairs that JD workers have done. Given an opportunity, the family would gratefully move, but because there is only one income between the two of them they do not make enough to move to another place.
Although they are just able to afford the rent, we, as fellow Fresnans, ought to be asking if we can afford the damage that derelict slumlords cause our city. We may be able, for a time, to turn and look the other way, but this is an issue that involves all of Fresno.
It may be a challenging and foreign concept to try to imagine and understand the Martinez’ circumstances, but the situation exists regardless. The mold is still present, the floor is still eroding, and the company that owns the home seems characteristically callus to the condition of the house and their responsibility to maintain the property that they own.
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This apartment complex is located in Council Member Oliver L. Baines’ district. Share this story with Council Member Baines.