Landlord perplexed by listing

Published 12:44 am Saturday, August 15, 2009

Helene Felton doesn’t want people thinking she could care less about her properties.

Several months ago when the properties became uninhabitable because of vandals, she contacted the city and offered them for controlled burns. The city accepted.

But Tuesday night, Felton’s properties on Griffin Avenue and Washington Street were listed as nuisance properties for the Selma City Council to approve as health and safety hazards.

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“I handled this months ago,” Felton said. “I made a deal with the city. I don’t want to be in that fish bowl.”

Darryl Moore, code enforcement officer for Selma, said Felton had contacted him months ago about allowing the Selma Fire Department to burn the properties as part of training.

“I was not supposed to be on the list given to the council, but on a list for controlled burns,” Moore said. “It was on the list by mistake.”

Felton is a landlord. She oversees the properties, part of the Towns estate. Felton’s father died in 2003. Since that time, if she hasn’t kept a tenant in some of the buildings, they have fallen victim to vandals or drug addicts seeking a place to hide away.

Felton said she has mopped and swept the houses and even boarded up windows to keep people out.

“They stole the boards and the windows,” she said. “They have done so much damage, I can’t pay for it.”

Her only option was to offer the buildings for destruction, Felton said. She estimates she has lost nearly $100,000 in rent and cost to repair the buildings in the years since her father died.

If she had her way, Felton added, she would fix up the houses and rent them out again.

“I like making money. I don’t want nothing to go bad,” she said.