The city has cracked down on Mid-City i+Lofts on Scott Street, an apartment building owned by local landlord Josh Bruno.
Inspectors found substandard conditions and other violations of the law in the 26-unit building, according to a Mayor’s Office press release. A multi-departmental team spoke with several tenants who provided information about problems they have experienced — including mold, faulty appliances and unresponsive property management.
City employees and Unity of Greater New Orleans provided these tenants with information about services available to them. “We will ensure these tenants, and all tenants living in inhospitable conditions, know their rights and the resources available to them as well as hold delinquent landlords accountable in any manner we can,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “All residents deserve a clean place to live, work and raise a family.”
Representatives from the Department of Code Enforcement, New Orleans Health Department, Office of Community Development, New Orleans Police Departmen, Chief Administrative Office and the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals combined forces to inspect at the Mid-City i+Lofts, 635 N. Scott St., in February.
This inspection took place as a result of tenant complaints and inquiries from the Joe Giarrusso’s District A Council office.
Nine violations of the city’s Minimum Property Maintenance Code were identified, and a Code Enforcement case has been opened against the property. A hearing will be held, and if the property is found to be in violation of the law, city officials state, the city will aggressively pursue abatement of the illegal conditions.
Evidence of criminal activity and zoning violations were also documented.
A 2021 inspection found that rats were entering the building through holes in the wall. The February inspection also found evidence of a rodent infestation, city records show.
One week prior to this multi-department sweep, officers with the Mid-City Security District conducted a walk-through of the Mid-City i+Lofts. They observed the following:
- Several cameras on the facility, none of which appeared operable at the time
- Garbage throughout the courtyard, including home trash, vehicle parts and biohazard trash, like needles
- Dumpster on the property does not seem big enough for the number of apartments and tenants living there; several trash containers overflowed inside the courtyard even though there were four trash bins on the street of the property
- Large amounts of dog feces all over the property, including steps, walking paths and leading into apartments
- Total of seven vehicles in the courtyard (four appeared to be broken down and having work done, and three looked inoperable); items typically used to repair vehicles, like an engine lift and tools
- Electrical wiring flowing from one apartment to the other, posing a potential fire hazard
- Leaking water on the exterior of the building
- Reason to believe a criminal element is living there, and they were notified of who may have shot out the camera installed across the street
“The Department of Code Enforcement and our partner agencies are aggressively pursuing owners of blighted properties,” said Thomas Mulligan, director of Code Enforcement. “We will use all legal tools at our disposal to hold these owners responsible for violating the law, and we will continue working to ensure that all rental properties meet minimum standards of safety and habitability, as required by law.”
These apartments have become a nuisance for the area, according to the press release. It appears there are vagrants within the parking lot, which is typically locked and gated. Trash and vehicles are piled within the lot, including possible drug paraphernalia. Neighbors have reported possible mechanic or chop shop activity, as well.
“Substandard housing conditions often pose public health threats, so NOHD joins these multi-departmental property inspections to evaluate and document public health issues and offer resources,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of NOHD. “All renters in the city deserve a healthy and safe place to live.”