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PD: Landlord Arrested for Neglecting to Fix Family's Heat During Cold Spell

Middletown Police say an East Ridge Road property owner failed to ensure a couple with two small children had working heat during a week when temperatures reached as low as 16 degrees.

124 East Ridge Road, Middletown
124 East Ridge Road, Middletown

A Middletown landlord is facing criminal charges after police say he failed to keep the heat on at a Ridge Road family's home during a week in which temperatures were as low as 16 degrees, according to the report.

On Jan. 6 at 12:16 p.m., police were called to the home of a woman who lives with her boyfriend and two children, ages 4 years and 8 months, at 124 East Ridge Road about the landlord turning off the electricity to half her home, according to the report, including the furnace.

After checking the fuses, the report says, and determining they were working, the boyfriend called the landlord, Scott M. Brennan, 58, of 90 East Ridge Road, who refused to fix the problem and hung up the telephone. Police were again called and visited Brennan at home where he said the family was not his tenants because there was no lease and they had never paid rent.

Under the law, police told Brennan, the family was his tenants and he had to supply heat, the report says, and if he wanted to evict them he'd have to start legal proceedings. Police say Brennan told them he didn't know if he'd be fixing the heat and didn't have money to do it so they contacted the health department, according to the report, who determined the home was unfit for living.

The report says the city health inspector said the family could not be in the home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. and would be relocated to the Passport Inn on South Main Street which the city would pay for initially and Brennan would be responsible for ultimately. Police then told Brennan he had 48 hours to fix the heat or he would be arrested, the record details, to which he replied he didn't understand why he had no rights against "squatters" in his home and how he could make repairs if he wasn't allowed to be there.

The report says police told Brennan he had to have a licensed electrician make the repairs. 

On Jan. 10 at noon, 96 hours after Brennan was told he had 48 hours to make repairs or face charges, police returned to the home with the health inspector who said the home was completely without power and electricity. 

When they spoke to Brennan, the report says, he told them he had "tried his best to make repairs" without having money by having an electrician turn the heat on briefly but something else went wrong so when Brennan went to the home he was arrested.

Brennan was charged with failure to provide heat and first-degree criminal trespass.

According to South Fire District tax records, a lien was placed on the 127 East Ridge Road Property in 2012 for non-payment of $1,924.71 in taxes and the house slated for auction Dec. 2, 2013, if not paid in full. 

However, the tax clerk says, Brennan paid the taxes and his 90 East Ridge Road taxes are up-to-date as well.

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Middletown Resident January 15, 2014 at 08:15 AM
Slumlord! He got what he deserved!! What a piece of garbage!! To not provide heat to a family with 2 small children is inhumane! Kharma Brennan!!!
Michael Roden January 15, 2014 at 12:04 PM
He just painted the house, put on a new roof , and fixed the heat after someone broke in and stole the copper pipe from the basement. All in the last year. Maybe if they paid the rent he would have had money to do further repairs.
Middletown Resident January 15, 2014 at 09:29 PM
I know this family personally, and know the hardships they have encountered with Mr.Brennan from day one of renovated his home and moving into the house. Mr.Brennan's mother has paid for all of the repairs associated with the home. Painting it, the new roof, the new copper plumbing/furnace and also all of the back taxes he owed. He has failed to keep up the property for multiple years and sucked every some he can out of his innocent mother (whom he lives with). He has no money because of his own personal issues. This family has paid him rent every month and has even given him extra money when he has asked to "borrow" it after calling up to 40 times in one day. Prior to the incident with no heat, they refused to let him borrow money, and he blocked their car in with his car and left the property. This is why he was told not to contact the family in case of an emergency and was also cited for trespass. It is a shame that this wonderful, hardworking family, had to be displaced out of their home during the coldest week of the year. Slumlord would be a TOTAL understatement to describe this man. Best wishes to this family I finding a SAFE place to live.
Middletown Resident January 15, 2014 at 09:31 PM
It is also a shame that they have been labeled "squatters" and the other comments Mr.Brennan has made. It is clearly a retaliation to make them appear to be one way, instead of owning up to his own wrongdoing. The definition of a true coward. He will get what's coming to him for sure.

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