Thursday, May 12, 2016

Preventing Another Tragedy

44 East Oak
Here's one other thing Norristown needs to check out in the light of last weekend's tragic fire at 825 Dekalb. The fire killed 4 residents, 2 children. The house was registered as a single-family dwelling, yet according to the Times Herald, had no rental license and was housing perhaps as many as 16 residents.

So I was curious about the couple who owns that house. 

Since Montgomery County has its property records online, it was easy to find that this couple owns at least 4 other properties in the county. Possibly more, if their name was spelled slightly differently on the deeds. Most are listed as single-family dwellings. One, 44 E Oak Street, is here in Norristown.

They've owned 44 E Oak since 2010. It's a two-story rowhouse with only 1606 square feet of living space. The old photo in the property records shows a business had once occupied the first floor. So presumably there might have already been an apartment on the second floor. Yet the house is listed as single-family residential, not commercial.

I googled "Who lives at 44 E Oak Norristown" (which doesn't always get results but it was worth a try and I lucked out). listed 6 different people having that address. Possibly 2 are the owners. 1 other might be a duplicate.

That leaves at least 3 people with separate surnames. Still that doesn't necessarily mean that those people still live at that address. But given what we know of the couple, 44 E Oak ought to be checked to see if there are tenants occupying the house. If so, does the couple have a rental license for the property and are they renting to more than one single family? Or at least, are there separate apartments?

There you go, Codes Department, I did half your work for you for free. You're welcome.

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