School Closings & Delays

A Heated Debate in Clinton County

Newswatch 16 has learned that Children and Youth in Clinton County spent its own money to fill an oil tank this week at an apartment house near Lock Haven. The landlord did not fill the tank when it went dry.

Tenants at an apartment house near Lock Haven say their furnace ran out of oil almost two weeks ago. Instead of buying more oil, their landlord brought them space heaters. One tenant says with temperatures dipping into single digits, she didn’t know where else to turn, so she contacted local officials and Newswatch 16.

Susan Viloria has lived in this apartment near Lock Haven for the past four years. The grandmother says the building is heated by oil, and the tank ran dry almost two weeks ago. When she contacted her landlord, instead of buying more oil, he brought space heaters to Viloria and the families living in the other two apartments.

“I mean, I have like four in my apartment. The wiring is old. Too many heaters could be bad on the electric system,” Viloria said.

Viloria says she repeatedly asked her landlord to fill the oil tank, because heat is included in her rent, but he refused. She also says the place had no hot water for several days.

“One morning I woke up and it was 37 degrees in my bedroom,” Viloria said.

Two other families live in the apartment house. Each has children under the age of five.

“It’s bad enough for me, I know how to take care of myself. These are young couples with babies. Somebody’s gotta watch out for them,” Viloria said.

But the place is now warm thanks to Clinton County Children and Youth who spent close to $2,000 to put heating oil into the tank.

“It has been heaven, heaven to be able to have heat,” Viloria said.

Newswatch 16 spoke to Viloria’s landlord, Dave Mayes, at the gym he owns in downtown Lock Haven. He says he is fulfilling his duties as a landlord by providing space heaters to his tenants.

Mayes said, “There has never been a day without heat there. The heat is included in the rent, but it does not specify oil heat.”

Children and Youth, as well as the Clinton County Commissioners and the County’s Area Agency on Aging got involved in the situation after Viloria’s family members contacted them about the issue.

A code enforcement officer in another county says Pennsylvania requires landlords to provide a primary source of heat that is either gas, electric or oil. That code enforcement officer says space heaters are not considered a primary source of heat.

The director for Children and Youth in Clinton County says the agency is attempting to be reimbursed by the landlord for the oil, which was paid for with money from the agency’s emergency fund.

56 comments

  • Dana

    Maybe all his properties ought to be investigated. I know about five years ago the apartment the older woman lives in the first bedroom you could see outside at the floor boards his advise to the then tenant was to stuff it with old blankets.

    • Roni

      I feel like these are the things that need to be noted and reported to authorities.
      I am keeping a log of all the comments from people that know of people or have seen how he keeps his property.

      • Katie

        Roni….let me tell you…my son said your mom was the nicest lady. We wish her the best! Please tell her Tom (Jersey) and Chas say “Hi”!

    • Roni

      My Mother is pretty tidy but she had been living in the front area for two weeks. The day the oil was delivered, which was the day before this interview, she had taken off the plastic from the kitchen area and the plastic from the back of the house.
      She had been living in an area that was 9×15 for nearly two weeks. I’m sure it looked lived in but I also visit and stay with my Mom and know how tidy she is.
      Dave Mayes’ gym, on the other hand, is the one you should be concerned about if you’re concerned about cleanliness.

      • Katie

        By chance does your mom own 2 dogs….just trying to see if it’s the same house my son and fiancee rented an apartment in about two years ago. Can’t tell from the news clip.

  • William G Lenhart

    I’m currently in the same boat, I’ve been without central heat since the flood destroyed my furnace. My landlord has provided space heaters one of which is now on the fritz. I have been in contact with the housing authority in my county and am awaiting a call back. I’m disabled, suffering from kidney failure. My daughter has called the housing authority also. I’m forced to live in 2 rooms of a 7 room apartment as I can’t afford to heat the entire place to comfort on my limited income.

  • SCREW LANDLORDS

    HE IS NOT SUPPLYING THE HEAT THE TENANTS ARE WITH THERE ELECTRIC I WOULD WITHOLD THE RENT GO TO COURT AND THEN HELL SEE

  • Melissa Corlew

    We rented from this slum lord once. We saw there were issues but he swore he was in the process of fixing them and was a local guy with a business so we made a major mistake and trusted him. He has all appearances of a stand up guy. Just goes to show you appearances are deceiving. After we moved in we reported several major problems to him including the secondary exit form the apartment building having a padlock on it so in case of fire there was only one exit. We ended up moving out before our lease was up after a major scare. We went to codes after in an attempt to get our deposit back and to make sure he was taking care of the problems. The codes officer said our first mistake was to not call him first because now that we no longer lived there he was limited as to what he could do. He promised to look in on it but unless a current tenant allowed him access or made a report he could not do much. Over my college career I lived in several apartments and rented from different people in Lock Haven. He was the only Land lord that I would refuse to ever deal with again. He is a total disgrace. Our elderly and children should be cared for thank you to all those who stood up for these families. Moving is hard and expensive especially with the recent boom of gas line tenants. Commenting that if they didn’t like it they should just move is just uncaring and ignorant.

  • laura

    thank you for putting his name out there and the fact that he owns another business. time to send the code enforcement officers into both. the video of that home is deplorable. broken windows on the porch area- that a hazard right there without even going inside

  • kmoore

    Whatever the codes are, whatever the legalities are, morally, it seems incomprehensible to me that anyone could, in good conscience treat a fellow human being in this manner. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it first hand, in my current living situation, the last place I lived, and several others. Landlords want to get by with doing just the bare minimum, if even that. Safety, comfort, and dignity of the tenants has no bearing on whether they will take care of a problem or not.

    I doubt that it will, but I hope that the public shaming in this situation will force this particular landlord to take another look at the way he handles his rental properties and his tenants. Sadly, I doubt that he’ll ever care or believe that he’s doing anything wrong.

  • Rita Miller

    You would be surprised at how many times Children and Youth helps withe fuel or utilities to keep children at home and safe. The case workers are dedicated, caring people who want to keep families together by engaging parents and supporting them. The codes officers need to crack down on these landlords. No heat is endangering life in this frigid weather.

  • Roni

    Dave pays the electricity. That sounds great until you realize how often the electricity is turned off due to lack of payment.
    Several receptacles in Mom’s apartment don’t work. They are so old and faulty that the plugs fall out and they must be monitored.
    Mom will never allow me to run a space heater while we sleep because of fire hazard. This means that when I visit in the winter months, I wake up to a house that is in the mid-40s when there is no oil. This year Mom’s house dipped into the mid-30s; this breaks my heart.
    Why hasn’t my Mom moved?
    There is a long history of love in that old house. It used to be a restaurant when owned by a family friend (like a brother/cousin) years ago. My mom lives in the same apartment my Gram lived in when she passed away. Mom lived in the apartment upstairs for several years and my own daughter (now 31) has many memories of playing up there when she was just a toddler.

  • RoniS.

    Hi All …
    I am the ‘family’ member that went to the authorities and WNEP.
    Sue Viloria is my mother and when she called me on Friday, telling me she’d been without heat for 9 days, my jaw dropped. I had no idea. My mother has never been one to complain.
    She’s lived in Central PA most of her life and is used to the cold weather.
    I can tell you that my Mom pays her rent on time every month. She’s very diligent about that; it’s just her nature. Like so many of our parents, she’s a proud Marine Corps veteran and doesn’t like to ask for help or assistance. She’s also 69 years old and living on a fixed income.
    The thermostat is not locked; in fact, it’s my mother that controls it for the entire building. I often visit and stay with her for several weeks at a time, and I freeze my toosh off because of her frugality. For those who are wondering, she keeps the thermostat set at 70 degrees during the day and 66 at night. She always says the heat rises and she doesn’t want the family upstairs to be uncomfortable … and she always tells me “Roni … just put on a sweater.” Moms.
    This is not an isolated incident. In September 2012-December 2012, I lived with Mom to care for her before and during her convalescence from cancer and subsequent cancer surgery. Soon after we arrived home, on November 2nd, the heat went out. There was no oil. I repeatedly called Dave, frantic, because I needed heat in the house for my mother to heal properly. He told me to use a space heater and he’d get to ordering fuel when he got around to it. End of story.

  • amanda marie

    Wow.
    I can’t believe there is even an argument over this.
    Space heaters are no primary source period.
    The landlord is a douchebag, Having that many running with good
    wiring is dangerous enough.Its greed and lazyness.His properties should
    be condemned, what a pathetic soul.If you can’t afford proper up keep
    sell the properties and get out of the business.How pathetic.

  • 1DefFlash

    No different than saying the boiler was down with no facts. As soon as they filled up with oil the heat came back on. It spoke for itself.

  • Jenjun

    I was to a friends apt on water street today that mr Mayes owns and I was simply appalled! Huge hole in the middle of the kitchen floor appliances don’t work and no heat, space heaters everywhere! I can’t believe he shows these places to people to rent! I would be embarrassed to even show a perspective tenant a place in that condition! Don’t they have some type of inspection for landlords? How does he get away with it?

  • dirt dogg

    “We all get the same amount of heat. The rich get it in winter and the poor get it in summer.”

  • Charles dotterer

    It’s one thing to deny heat to adult tenants, especially when it is included in their rent, but it’s a totally different set of circumstances when children are involved! Shame on you Dave Mayes! You are a father, a past teacher, and a business owner promoting good health. How dare you treat these children like this? You should be in jail!

  • Ms.INDEPENDANT

    How much is their rent, is he paid?? Yes install locks on thermostats, people dont show respect for anything unless its being paid out of their own pocket. Four people, somebody must be working that can get oi then deduct it from his rent. The fathers/mothers of small children could chipin part of their pays. We the people Without Landlords havs to pay for Heat & Electric ALSO, Dont get Foodstamps, Leihip, NO HELP WHAT SO EVER. Ive seen several businesses using only spaceheaters & thats all their workers have. Tough times.

    • Ms.Irratated

      Business is one thing, living area is another especially when there are young children involved. If people are paying extra money for this expected oil each month, it should be expected that they receive suitable sources of heat. Especially with the way that the cold has been, little itty bitty space heaters do not do anything to warm a place up.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Btw, I do operate properties. No problems like that here. Boilers serviced yearly. Tanks on auto fill. Tenants where heat is included, it’s locked at certain temp. Where they pay their own, they can crank it. I have provided electric heaters at a time when a system went down and had to be completely replaced. That’s what you do, that’s what they deal with. Not a “slum” lord like you conclusion jumpers would like to think while on your witch hunt, but that’s ok. I can take it. At the end of the day, this person can always move. And I’m sorry, but a prospective tenant should be able to tell whether or not they are renting a dump from the beginning. As most of you said, this person is well known for having dumps, so there you go.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Glad to see someone is on my side. Homeless? I’ve helped habitat for humanity. Orphans? Everytime a tenant has a child, they get gifts from us for the kid. People on here spout off and really have no reality to back it p with. Thanks Ms. Independent.

  • 1DefFlash

    Hey Joe Schmoe. You are real class! Glad you found time from urinating on the homeless and kicking the orphans to offer your opinion.

  • Teresa

    if they are electric heaters then he should pay there electric bill with that many heaters wow what a electric bill that will be he pays for the heat

  • Joe Schmoe

    Well, space heaters ARE electric heaters. There are many other things that could be going on in this story we will never know about. Hey idiot tenant, if you don’t like it, MOVE! Go somewhere else! Boiler could be broken, tenants could have individual thermostats and be cranking it up to 95 degrees everyday and running the fuel out too quick. You better believe, of you called WNEP on me, you’d be moving out real quick.

    • Jason Brian Merrill

      Can you read?

      “A code enforcement officer in another county says Pennsylvania requires landlords to provide a primary source of heat that is either gas, electric or oil. That code enforcement officer says space heaters are not considered a primary source of heat.”

      • Joe Schmoe

        Ya he said “considered”. It’s opened to interpretation. If that boiler is down, some heat source is better than nothing. And what do they care? If utilities are included, it doesn’t matter the source.

      • Charles Renninger

        Ya… If utilities are included..so I guess he’s going to pay everyone’s $300+/month electric bill then? Or let me guess? Rent in his hellholes is $800/month..just take the $300 off the rent..

        Joe? Is your real name Danny Sarge?

    • Jenn loomis

      That’s not fair but if you live in Clinton county you know Dave is a slum lord so put up or shut up.. I moved with the help of an agency had no heat for months. Water was a never..

    • Dj

      Read the codes, dude. Space heaters are NOT a primary source. If they’re turning up the thermostats he can raise the rent at the end of the lease, but he cannot deny them heat from a primary source. If he doesn’t like it he can rent in some state other than PA, where tenants rights are still protected.

    • Annie Maye

      Well YOU must be the landlord in hiding! Leaving tenants without heat & no hot water for Gods sake get real ya FOOL! Life is too short!!!

    • mary

      You must be related to Dave Mayes for even making the comment you made….what an a** you just made of yourself

    • Charles Renninger

      I’m not from Clinton County, But I’ll be more than certain the codes are the same there.

      In Schuylkill county, .
      You must have 1 primary working heat source.. or the building is considered inhabitable/shut down/condemned from residency.
      Lack of fuel for the primary heat source does not meet the code.
      As the primary heat source cannot operate.
      Only if the primary heat source is up to working order may you use space heaters..
      No oil = inoperable. No primary heat source – all tennants MUST leave the premises. As they cannot use space heaters if there is no primary heat source present.
      It is not up to the tennants to supply oil for this property’s heat source as it is stated it is included in the rent.

      As for all of those space heaters?
      Who is paying the electrical utilities in that building?
      Tennants or Landlord?
      Has to be about $300.00+ a month for each apartment..
      And I’m willing to agree with the one tennant that their wiring is old..
      No way a landlord would replace it unless it fails..
      If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it mentality especially in these situations.
      14-16 Gauge wiring with a 30 amp breaker to prevent it from tripping, Trns that 14-16 gauge wire into a red hot heat element built into the walls.. (Breaker/fuse doesn’t trip, can load the breaker all you want. the wire will fail before it trips the breaker.)

      Joe, if those are the kind of standards you keep for your properties, be glad I never rented from you.. I would have had code in that building the moment it dropped below 68ºF (Or I found ANYthing not up to code for the matter.)… Even if I had to walk to City/Town hall and dragged them out to the property by hand..

      As for broken boilers.. code only gives so long for those to be repaired/replaced.. and Tennants cranking individual thermostats up to 95?
      Set it to 68º-72º (Code is 68ºF min. in house temp.) and put a lock box on them..or get lock box/outdoor temp regulators.

      This story is here due to the landlord thinking he could save money by not buying oil the rest of the year and giving out space heaters..if these people are paying their own electricity, I hope they take him to small claims court and have him pay ALL of their electric bills…
      And finally, hope they find a new place to live when this settles out for them.

      The Cheap way isn’t always the right way…it’ll cost ya’ in the end.

  • BeenThere

    Not surprising to me at all, lived in the gym building, frozen pipes, no water or heat for days on end!

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