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DULUTH-A group of tenants at the Seaway Hotel says they are waiting for a judge's decision after taking legal against action their landlord.
During the last month Duluth building officials have continued their stance that the building is unfit for human habitation. While that decision is stuck in an appeals process a small group building tenants is demanding their rent back.
The owner of the Seaway Hotel, Rick Caya, and his staff will not allow FOX 21 NEWS in his building but looking from the street the damage is apparent.
"I'm living in a building that's totally condemned. I've got a bucket hanging over my bed right now to keep the water out and I've got two five–gallon buckets in my kitchen," Jack Monchamp, a tenant at the Seaway, said.
He also says he is a 63-year-old retired iron worker who knows a thing or two about structural steel.
After inspectors declared the building "unfit for human habitation" - along with five other tenants, Monchamp started a Tenants Remedy Action "requesting emergency relief from the court because the city of Duluth Life Safety Division has condemned the premises."
Basically, Monchamp said, the group wanted August's rent money back.
"It was complicated to begin with because the judge had to wait and see what the building appeal board said," Monchamp said.
After the hearing (that would be appealed to the city council) tenants have been allowed to stay in the building that is still marked with an order of condemnation.
Building owner Rick Caya has reassured his tenants through a written message that all 90–something people would be able to stay and that the matter with the city would be taken care off.
Monchamp, who pays $470 a months for a one bedroom apartment, said at their last court hearing Caya could offer no proof of that.
"Do you have anything in writing to say that you've got a contractor that's going to work on that roof? Do you have a contractor that's going to work on the electricity so it doesn't burn down? And do you have a contractor to work on the mold problem?" Monchamp said, recalling the hearing.
"He said 'we're negotiating at this time' which means no," Monchamp said.
At this point even Duluth City Council President Dan Hartman has not made it clear if the group has power to make an extension on repairs - mainly because the condemnation points to major building code issue.
Neither building owner Rick Caya nor his attorney would return messages asking for comment.
The Duluth City Council plans to make some kind of decision on the building's future during their September 10th meeting.