Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
By: Cornelius Frolik - Staff Writer
DAYTON — The University of Dayton plans to pay for a housing inspector to try to prevent and fix unhealthy and unsafe living conditions in student neighborhoods.
About 2,145 students live in housing in two student neighborhoods, and the school wants to ensure that these residential properties comply with housing, zoning and building codes and regulations, university officials said.
On Wednesday, the Dayton City Commission will consider an agreement in which UD will pay for a conservation specialist to oversee about 400 university-owned homes and 115 non-university rental properties and private residences, school officials said.
UD would provide the city with $90,000 annually for four years for an inspector to monitor and enforce city code in the neighborhoods on the east side of Brown Street, between Wyoming Street and Irving Avenue.
The specialist also will focus on about 80 residential properties west of Brown Street in the Fairgrounds neighborhoods, the school said.
Duties will include annual interior inspections, regular exterior inspections, responding to complaints and following up on violations.
UD says it has spent about $30 million in the last five years maintaining, improving and adding new housing in the student neighborhoods.
“With more inspections and better follow up, the properties will be safer,” said Bruce Bullman, UD’s assistant vice president for residential properties in a prepared statement. “That’s our number one concern — that our students live in safe, healthy housing.”
Homes in the neighborhoods are aging and exterior or interior problems bubble up, like they did a few years ago when the floors sank in multiple student homes after some large parties.
Eleven UD students were displaced from two university-owned houses after the floors “shifted a few inches” during large gatherings in 2013. In 2010, a floor inside a 97-year-old home owned by UD collapsed when students jumping to a band playing on a cinder-block and wood stage buckled and dropped to the basement.
The city contract will ensure properties in student neighborhoods are held to the highest standard of maintenance and upkeep, said Rick Krysiak, UD’s vice president for facilities management and planning.
“The dedicated inspector will provide annual interior inspections as well as consistent exterior inspections to identify and better follow up on issues that arise between inspections,” he said.
Parents of students regularly contact UD administrators and representatives about substandard living conditions or other issues with non-university rental housing, like clogged drains or leaking ceilings, officials said.
But the school says it has no sway over private property owners.
The new conservation specialist, however, will be able to take immediate action to investigate the complaints and reach out to landlords to seek a remedy, officials said.
Conservation specialists also monitor and try to address issues with trash, abandoned and junked vehicles and zoning, nuisance, environmental and fire codes violations.