Context: The Mayo Group / Advanced Realty Management has been called to appear before the City Council tonight regarding their development on Broad Street. (See this recent article in the Item about tonight)
This letter to the editor was also sent as an email to a number of elected officials and city departments this morning along with the included photos. Opinions are welcome. Comment below or send your long-form letters to the Editor / “Phototorials” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warning – some of the images below are disturbing and contain offensive language.
I am writing to you all in an effort to help shed more light on the negative impact that The Mayo Group (aka, Advanced Realty Management) has on our community. My understanding is that the city has requested Mayo’s presence at the council meeting tonight to explain their recent bait and switch maneuver with their new Broad Street development. While the pressure is on Mayo, I thought that it would be a good time to bring everyone’s attention to their 501 Washington Street property.
I met with several tenants last week at the 501 Washington Street property and I have documented the following conditions in the building, most of which have corresponding photos that I have included in this email.
1. Security issues: The front entrance to the building is not secure. I am told that people who do not live in the building are constantly in the common areas doing drugs, passing out, having sexual intercourse, defecating, dealing drugs, defacing the common areas, having parties… all the while some of the families in the building are terrified and their ongoing complaints to Mayo have not resulted in a more secure building. I was told that there are constantly drug needles scattered around the common area hallways. I was also told that several female tenants in the building have been assaulted in the common areas by intruders. I pulled a copy of the police incident report for the building and it is about five pages long for the last three weeks alone.
2. Rats: All of the tenants who I spoke with tell me that the building is infested with rats. One woman (whose apartment I visited) keeps a very clean house and even she has seen rats in her apartment. Another woman who I spoke with said that a rat ran across her bed while she was in it.
3. Heat: Many of the tenants who I spoke with told me that they have been without heat during the winter for weeks at a time. Heat is supposed to be included in the rent and some of the unit HVAC systems apparently do not work. People resort to space heaters, and we all know how unsafe this is.
4. Ranges out of order: I met one family who told me that their range stopped working and that they had to wait for over a month before Mayo finally replaced it. Despite the tenant’s calls to Mayo, they were told to “be patient.” Almost five weeks later they finally got a new stove. This family told me that several of their neighbors have gone without working stoves for weeks at a time as well.
5. Fire, potential mold, and improper temporary housing: Another family had a burn up in their oven that caused a fire in their unit. The sprinklers went off causing significant water damage to the unit and to the tenants’ personal property. (See attached photos.) The fire obviously wasn’t Mayo’s fault, but the way they handled the situation is completely unacceptable. Instead of putting the family in a hotel, they moved the family into an empty unit within the building that I am told was filthy. The family lived in this filthy empty unit without any furniture for over a week while Mayo worked on “fixing” their unit. This empty unit had no electricity, so they had to plug a lamp into the common area outlet and run an extension cord into the unit at night. “Fixing” their rental unit involved painting and replacing the stove. Since then, the flooring in the unit has begun to lift and it appears that mold may be growing in sections of the wall. I am told that the replacement range “gives a shock” whenever a burner is turned on.
6. Obstruction of egresses: Throughout every single common area elevator landing, I saw furniture piled up. We are talking mattresses, couches, bureaus… you name it. I was told by many tenants that Mayo does this when they are emptying out apartments. When it’s trash day, they then move everything out onto the sidewalk in the front of the building (causing an eyesore for the neighborhood on a regular basis). I am guessing that they must have high turnover in the building since tenants tell me that there is always furniture being stored in the common areas. I would imagine that this is a fire hazard, and it is also inviting intruders to sleep in the common areas. (See attached photos.)
7. Missing window screens and broken windows: Throughout the common areas I saw several broken windows, leaving the building exposed to the elements. (See attached photos.) There are also many, many windows with missing window screens in the units.
8. Graffiti: The common areas are marked with graffiti throughout the entire building. (See attached photos.)
9. Holes in walls and ceilings: Throughout the building and common areas there are holes of all sizes in the walls and ceilings. Some of the units have missing ceiling tiles. (I did not get photos of this for some reason, but I can.)
I am guessing that there are many other violations, but this is what I have documented in just one of their buildings so far.
I would like to see Mayo held accountable for the horrible living conditions in this building. I also think that a further investigation should be done into all of Mayo’s Lynn buildings. I am sure that even their new building on Broad Street is full of code violations. One question in particular is lack of handicapped access in the Broad Street building. The building has no elevator and no ramp access to the units that are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. How can that be? Isn’t a new rehab building with 31 units required to have handicapped access?
My other concerns and questions relate to the city’s role in inspecting these buildings. Doesn’t ISD require a rental occupancy inspection between every tenant? I know that all of my landlord clients with rental units in Lynn are required to do this. Is there an exception made for a large landlord like Mayo? Also, many of the tenants at 501 Washington Street are on Section 8; I am very concerned that whoever is conducting these Section 8 inspections is not doing a good enough job.
There are many other large landlords in the city who deal with the same low income population as the tenants in 501 Washington Street, yet their buildings and units are extremely well cared for and in turn their tenants value and respect their apartments (though there are always a few bad apples). The Hall Company is a perfect example of a stellar landlord and property manager dealing with the same volume of units and demographics. I am sure that Mayo will blame their tenants for the horrible conditions at 501 Washington Street, but I really hope that we do not let them get away with that.
I am available if I can be helpful in any way as we work together to hold Mayo accountable. In the meantime, I am in the process of working with tenants to help them file formal complaints against Mayo through various city and state agencies.
I feel very strongly that developers and landlords like Mayo are very harmful to our community and stifle growth in our community, not to mention they are an embarrassment to all of us. We need to do better.
Thank you all very much for your time.