RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Trash, neighborhood blight, and even unsafe living conditions—those are the concerns the City of Reno is addressing at two different properties in town. Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon situation, but it might surprise you to learn who owns the properties we’re talking about. This is part of an investigation you’ll only see on News 4.
Attorney Cliff Young is running to represent Ward 3 on the Reno City Council. Young is also a landlord. He owns a low-income rental house at the edge of the Midtown District on S. Virginia Street and another on Thoma Street near Wells Avenue.
City records show a number of complaints have been filed over the years against both properties for things like trash and debris, including furniture left outside. More complaints have been filed against a house on Sunrise Drive, which is owned by a Young family trust.
Griff Durham lives a few houses down from Young’s rental house on Thoma Street.
“He disrespects the neighborhood and degrades the neighborhood,” Durham says.
After News 4 inquired, the City’s Code Enforcement Officer Alex Woodley says he personally went out to double check where things stood.
“I was definitely surprised by what I found,” Woodley says.
Woodley says the house on Thoma Street has a family living in a converted basement, which was never approved of by the City. Woodley says the owners were informed of that back in 2007 when someone first complained. Cliff Young bought the property from another family member in late 2007, according to records from the County Assessor’s office.
The City closed the case in 2007, noting the property was no longer in violation—as long as it was not being occupied, but our investigation has spurred the City to get involved once again to find out if Cliff Young is following that order from 2007 or ignoring it.
Woodley says there are a number of concerns about the property, including lack of exits, and whether those inside could get out safely if a fire were to break out.
“Our intent is to make sure that no matter how cheap it is that it’s a safe place, a place where if they were to incur a fire they would have the ability to get out,” Woodley says.
In the meantime, News 4 asked Cliff Young if he is qualified to run for a seat on the City Council, given that his own properties are under scrutiny by the City’s Code Enforcement Division.
“There’s nothing wrong with the condition these are in,” Young says. “There’s been no code violation.”
When asked if he had received letters from the City, he said he had not seen them. After News 4 interviewed the City, they did a follow up inspection and confirmed with News 4 that code violations were found at the Thoma Street house. Young has been ordered to improve the appearance of the house on S. Virginia Street.
Young says it’s not easy maintaining low income rental properties. He says neighbors dump their trash in the alleys and graffiti is a constant problem, but each complaint that’s filed against one of his properties ties up the City’s limited staff of six code enforcement officers, making it tougher for those officers to move on and inspect other problem areas.
The City’s Code Enforcement Department has cited Young and sent him two notices of violation. They’ve ordered him to clean up the property on S. Virginia Street and to hire a licensed contractor to make needed improvements to the house on Thoma Street so that it complies with the City’s code requirements. If Young complies with those orders, the City will close its investigation.
Cliff Young is running against Oscar Delgado in the City Council race.