Rapid City Mayor wants to take severe action against a ‘slumlord’

If landlord does not comply, residents could potentially end up losing their water.
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In a letter to the Rapid City Council, Mayor Steve Allender says he wants to take legal action against Rand Williams, a landlord of a mobile park home on Lindbergh Avenue for not complying with the city’s maintenance demands.

The idea of water being shut off completely had one resident saying, “That’s scary cause we all use it. We all use it to cook, drink and eat with. I think they just need to be fixed.”

But it's the risk Mayor Steve Allender is willing to take because he has had enough of the landlord not playing by the rules.

“We can’t let the ugliness of that possibility sway how we go about getting compliance with this particular property owner,” Allender said.

For three years, the city has been going back and forth with the landlord of Ridgestone Mobile Home Park for not maintaining the water line going to 73 households.

The city estimates the pipe to be 40 to 60 years old.

And with all the built-up corrosion, if the pipe breaks, it could mean contamination.

”Gee, that wouldn’t be good. I got kids. We’re disabled, me and my daughter. So that wouldn’t be healthy,” one resident said.

“It’s a miracle this pipe has not broken yet,” Allender said.

In February, the city drafted a letter to send to residents notifying them they will shut off the water because the landlord is not up to date with the water pipe maintenance.

Williams signed an agreement with the city to make the necessary water line repairs but ended up not complying with the city’s demands. Allender said the replacement could cost tens of thousands of dollars for Williams.

Several residents say there have been moments when their water was turned off with no prior notice and even flooding issues.

One resident has not had water for 2 to 3 years.

Another one was getting into a car, to go to their mother’s house, to go shower.

In the back of one home lies a deep hole where there is a pile of water and some unfinished piping.

Rent prices for these homes range anywhere between $500 to $1,500 dollars a month, many families rely on housing assistance programs to pay the bill.

“He’s having his laundry aired out here publicly and it might not seem fair,” Allender said. “But don’t come talk to me that not being fair when we got a trailer park of 73 households who are not being treated fair every single day.”

City Attorney and Public Works will send a letter to the landlord explaining the conditions he must comply with.

If Rand Williams does not comply, the city will take legal action against Williams and Allender will seek for authorization from the city council at an executive session on September 8.

We reached out to the landlord but he has not responded at this time.

Allender said if water ends up getting shut off and people decide to stay in their homes, he believes volunteers and the Red Cross organization will come to help.

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