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Heated Debate Continues In Clinton County

BEECH CREEK TOWNSHIP — Local officials are taking action against a landlord in Clinton County who refused to fill his oil tank and instead gave tenants space heaters to keep warm. They’re hoping to prevent a situation like this from happening again.

Commissioners say they want every municipality in Clinton County to adopt a statewide code that requires landlords to provide tenants with a primary source of heat.

The code is not enforced in Beech Creek Township, where Susan Viloria and her neighbors rent their apartments.

Susan Viloria is enjoying her warm apartment near Lock Haven.  The grandmother says she and the two families who live in the apartment house did not have heat for almost two weeks.  Instead of buying them more oil for their furnace, their landlord Dave Mayes brought them space heaters.

“Very nervous.  I’m worried about if I’m going to have to move. What’s he going to do next?”

Several agencies got involved in the situation, including Clinton County Children and Youth.  Because young children live in the apartment house   the agency used about $2,000 from its emergency fund   o have the oil tank refilled.

The Clinton County commissioners are also taking action.

“So that they don’t have to worry about a landlord treating them like this, not providing heat for them, especially when children and the elderly are involved,” said Clinton County Commissioner Jeffrey Snyder.

According to a Clinton County code enforcement officer, there is a statewide code that requires landlords to provide tenants with a primary source of heat that is either gas, electric, fuel or oil.   But if a municipality does not adopt this code, it cannot be enforced.

Newswatch 16 spoke to a supervisor in Beech Creek Township who says that ordinance is not in effect in the township.  But a commissioner in Clinton County says he hopes to change that.

“We’ll reach out to all the municipalities and encourage them to enact that ordinance so this never happens again to our citizens without having some protection,” Snyder added.

As for Susan Viloria, she says she is happy the authorities are involved  and she has gotten a lot of support since her story aired on Newswatch 16.

“‘Are you OK?’  ‘What do you need and what can we help you with?’  Right now it’s looking for a home.”

The director of Clinton County Children and Youth says the agency  will  pursue legal action against Mayes to get back the money it spent on refilling the tank with oil.

Commissioners advise that if anyone else is having similar problems, they should contact their office.

13 comments

  • Roni

    Dave Mayes skirted this issue on a technicality. It reminds me of those predators who walk around us, smiling, because they’ve gotten away with some heinous crime on a ‘technicality’.
    Fortunately … the Commissioners in Lock Haven are not waiting for a child to freeze to death in an apartment due to a slumlord’s lack of caring or an elderly person to die due to lack of heat because of Dave Mayes’ just didn’t feel like keeping his part of the lease. They’ve already taken action and are escalating this to the state level.
    Thank you Central PA; I’ve always been proud to call you ‘home’,

  • Solomon Grundy

    I think it is great this landlord did not fill the oil tanks. At $3.75 a gallon for fuel oil I would not have filled them either. These people living in this shack probably have the heat jacked up to 80 degrees. What do they care…its free and I did not pay for it…..thats their way of thinking I am sure….And I would be willing to bet the landlord has probably filled these tanks several times already this heating season…Leave the landlord alone…make people be accountable and take care of themselves…(i.e. pay for your own things) instead of relying on others to take care of and pay. This is what is wrong with society….FREELOADERS wanting to be taken care of. At least the owner bought space heaters….He tried….I say leave him alone….He is awesome

    • Roni

      No Solomon … it’s not great that Dave Mayes didn’t provide oil for heat.

      And no one that actually sits back and truly thinks and allows themselves to feel the situation would feel it was ‘great’.

      Susan Viloria is my mother and I can tell you, first hand, she is very frugal with that precious oil. Dave has commented, more than once, that he is amazed at how long she (she is in charge of the heat for the entire house and the other tenants) is able to make a couple hundred dollars worth of oil last.

      The truth of the matter is, is that Dave Mayes NEVER puts in more than a couple hundred dollars of oil at any given time. He’s not able to put in more because the companies will no longer extend credit to him; he doesn’t pay his bills. Mom makes that last for a very long time; she never has the thermostat over 70 degrees during the day and keeps it at 66 degrees at night for everyone.

      He pays electricity and that sounds *truly* wonderful but when you look at how many times the electric bill hasn’t been paid and these families have had to do with any electricity for days on end, you begin to realize that it’s not the families that aren’t paying their bills or their rent … but rather, it’s Dave Mayes not paying the guy who delivers the oil thus allowing no credit to be extended, nor does he pay his electric bill.

      He is well known for being a slumlord and has a strong reputation for not paying his bills.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I’m sorry Roni, but your mom sounds like an idiot. Taking this to the state level? Really? Just move. Help her move. The rental market is so dry right now, there are plenty of places open. Once you and your mother move past your 15 minutes of fame, your going to be in the same situation. Then whatever relationship she has with Mr. Mayes is gone and whoever takes her in her new apartment isn’t going to accept her because of all the trouble she caused. I’m not justifying Mr. Mayes actions, I’m just saying take a little responsibility for your own problems.

        If the power went out, you would need heat. Propane burners, whatever. Move already!

  • vivian kreidler (@mommy5514)

    This landlord and so many others landlords threw out the state of Pa charge such a high rent and then some include the utilities in the amount you pay. They even put it in the lease. Then these landlords turn around and don’t pay the bills on these utilities and then the tenant is the one left out in the cold. It’s unfair how landlords get away with this. It’s unfair that that a landlord can get away without paying the utilities that they agree to pay and don’t. but let a tenant withhold their rent for this and watch how quick the landlord files to have them evicted for not paying their rent. Their are a lot of scumbag landlords out their and you don’t know until you get one (same go for tenants). This landlord took the cake when he had no concern with human life and handed the tenants space heaters instead of putting oil in the home. I’m sure every post I had read would of been different if these people have died because of no heat in the home. Then the tune would of been the landlord should be charged with murder. But, because no one died or was injured its ok? No its not. He needs to face charges for a criminal act. I am sure this should fall under some type of criminal law.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Oh ya. Enforce the codes, fine the landlord. Now the city lines it’s pockets and the landlord has even less money to get fuel with. That’s official thinking for you.

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