The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office said detectives would visit an apartment complex in Penn Hills on Thursday where more than 20 families were given eight days to move out.
Penn Hills Code Enforcement Department posted a notice at the Val Mar Gardens apartment complex Sept. 12 that condemned the property and ordered all the 25 families to move out by Sept. 20.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the DA’s office said detectives would visit the Val Mar Gardens apartments on Thursday to “gather more information on what is happening with the tenants in that building.”
In the days leading up to the municipality’s condemnation of the property, the complex’s utilities were shut off, residents have said. On Monday, a group of about 10 residents marched to the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority to picket and demand their water be turned back on.
Penn Hills Manager Scott Andrejchak said he was sympathetic to the residents’ situation but that the municipality would not extend the time it allotted for them to move out. The Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority’s Executive Director Nick Bianchi said the water would be turned on only if he received an injunction from a judge.
County real estate records list PA Real Estate Development Inc. as the owner of the building. The man who owns that business, Prasad Margabandhu, said he has not received rent payments from any tenants and that he is trying to do what he can to fix the situation. He said the issue is currently under litigation and directed questions to his attorney, Bill Labovitz.
Labovitz said Wednesday that Prasad and his company have not received rent since buying the property at 2648 Robinson Boulevard for $1,000 through a quick claim deed because that transaction was challenged by the property’s lender, Bayview Loan Servicing LLC.
Bayview purchased the property through a sheriff’s sale in January. But Margabandhu is arguing the sheriff sale was invalid because proper notice was not given, Labovitz said. Court records show a petition from Margabandhu to invalidate the sheriff sale was denied in July.
“Essentially, the court will decide who is the rightful owner of the Val Mar property,” Labovitz said.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter @dillonswriting.