Tenants left in the lurch after another Fall River property is condemned

By Abbey Niezgoda


Another property owned by an embattled landlord has been condemned, sending residents packing with only a moment's notice.
The UHaul trucks on George Street Tuesday night made the move look planned, but for the tenants at the boarding house, it was race against the clock that they only found out about hours ago.
“They tell us we have to get off the property in 8 hours, which is less than 24 hours notice,” resident Joanne Cook said.
A morning inspection by the city found the place unlivable. Inspectors say it was leaking carbon monoxide and filled with raw sewage. Mayor William Flanagan says there was a structural problem he could not ignore.
“The main beam was unstable,” Mayor Flanagan said. “The city inspector told me it was only a matter of time before it came crumbling down.”
This boarding house is the third property to be condemned in Fall River in the last few months owned by the landlord David Colville. Calls to Colville by ABC6 were not immediately returned. His tenants want an explanation.
The city is already going after Colville for owing more than a half million dollars in back taxes. They are also considering child endangerment charges for letting tenants as young as 7 months old live in such deplorable conditions. Meanwhile, families wonder where they will go next now that their building has been locked for good.
“I'm not the only one placed out,” resident Cathy Rodriguez said. “It's my kids and my grand kids. They can't come to my house because I have none just like them.”
The city says all of 31 residents were offered to stay at the Capri Motel in North Dartmouth, which has been shut down in the past for code violations. Mayor Flanagan says he knows nothing about that and it was just the motel with the availability.