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Woman Blames Contractor for Condemned Home

A single mom in our area saved for years to make a down payment on a dream house. Ten months later, she was forced out when she learned the home she bought was condemned.

Of all the houses on Eynon Street the one Teresa Shelp bought last summer appeared to her to be the newest and the nicest, outside and inside.

Shelp said she saw the first sign of something wrong in her daughter’s bedroom a month after she moved into the home.

“The room the leak was in, there was a lot of water damage, a lot of drywall, ceiling damage. The carpet had to come out,” Shelp recounted.

Then the bathroom plumbing sprung major leaks needing expensive repairs.

“And it just gets worse and worse, and bigger and bigger,” said Shelp.

Wiring shorted out causing smoke detectors to blare in the middle of the night for no reason.

Shelp blames Dunmore contractor Rich Pennell who bought the home at a 2008 foreclosure sale. It was condemned at the time. Pennell made several repairs and later sold it to Shelp.

Last week she learned the roofing, plumbing and electrical repairs were never inspected or permitted by the city. Her home was still condemned.

“And I was the sucker that bought it,” Shelp said.

She could not go back to her condemned home to spend the night, if she did she’d be breaking the law. So for one day, she actually lived out of her car and then began hitting up friends for help.

“And then you figure what am I going to do? It’s getting dark, now I have to figure out where I’m staying and then you call somebody. Can I stay there tonight?,” said Shelp.

“I have been sick over this, honestly and I will do whatever I have to do at this point,” said contractor Pennell.

He is on the hot seat. The city fined him a year before he sold the house for doing plumbing work on the house without a license and real estate records show just before he sold the home Pennell signed paperwork claiming the city approved all final inspections.

When asked if he tried to defraud the city Pennell said, “I did not do that. If i did that I am very sorry.”

“We’re going to take a real close look at that and see what he hasn’t done and what he has done and we do have the ability to remove somebody’s license from them,” said Mark Seitzinger, a Scranton building code official.

Theresa Shelp’s son and daughter are staying with a relative while she struggles to contain her frustration at Pennell.

“Since I bought this house it’s been nothing but a nightmare. I wish you would take it back and give me my money back,” Shelp said.

She and her lawyer are considering action against Pennell, the mortgage company and her insurer for letting her buy a condemned home.

For her to move back in the roof needs to be replaced. It has seven layers of shingles weighing down the roof which inspectors said put it in danger of collapse. There should only be two layers of roofing.


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