In its ongoing battle against substandard housing, the city of Medford ordered more than 15 people to vacate a dilapidated single-family house at Sunset Avenue deemed unfit for habitation.

In its ongoing battle against substandard housing, the city of Medford ordered more than 15 people to vacate a dilapidated single-family house at Sunset Avenue deemed unfit for habitation.

Tenants, including two families with multiple children, have to leave the premises by Aug. 11.

"I have three kids and a wife," said tenant Jason Coy. "I don't know what's going to happen."

Two large mounds of trash in the yard, debris and overgrown weeds prompted a Medford city building inspector to check out the residence in which a family of seven lives in one room.

Inside, inspector Hugh Fechtler found rat and mice infestations, unsafe electrical conditions, including missing or broken switch plate covers, leaking and broken plumbing, missing smoke alarms, a warped and dilapidated deck, unsealed doors, broken windows, a blocked-off stairwell and additions without permits.

Children living on the second floor could not lift the plywood blockade in the case of fire, Fechtler said. The barricade also could entrap firemen during a blaze.

The house lacks heating as required by city code, has an inadequate water supply and doesn't have required handrails and guardrails on the upper balcony.

The five-bedroom house at 1010 Sunset Ave. is owned by Gustavo and Darylyn Carrion, of San Dimas, Calif., and managed by their son, Dan.

Tenants living in substandard or dangerous housing often are hard-pressed to find housing elsewhere, Fechtler said.

"A lot of these tenants I've noticed are people of low income or they might be able to afford better but they have a background that might keep a property management company from renting to them," Fechtler said.

"These aren't strange or out-of-the-ordinary cases."

All of the tenants share a communal kitchen and two bathrooms.

When tenant Nancy Albright, who is disabled with degenerative disc disease, moved in, Dan Carrion promised her new carpet and paint, she said. Neither happened, said Albright, who pays about $400 a month in rent.

"There are holes in the walls and seepage from under the toilets," she said. "The outlets would flicker when I turned on my fridge or microwave."

She said she doesn't know where she'll move to.

"I truly am homeless," she said.

A few of the tenants said they asked about the garbage piled up when they moved in and Dan Carrion promised he would shortly clean the mess up.

Carrion rejected an offer by Coy to clean up the grounds for a $200 discount on his rent, Coy said.

"These people are slumlords, shoving as many people as they can in a small space and expecting them to be able to cohabit correctly," Albright said of the Carrions. "I mean, strangers sharing toilets."

Dan Carrion, who also manages and lives in another property at North Ivy, blamed the previous owner for some of the code violations at the house on Sunset but accepted responsibility for the trash and debris and missing smoke alarms and switch plate covers.

Dan Carrion claimed previous owner Jim Parrish left some of the trash when he sold it to the family.

Parrish denied Carrion's claims.

"When I sold it to them they did their due diligence," Parrish said. "If they let it deteriorate to that degree it's definitely not how they received it."

The Carrions have been investigated repeatedly for garbage and substandard housing complaints, Fechtler said.

"The plan is to clean it up," Gustavo Carrion said.

The Carrions also were cited for renting out a motor home in the back of the property, an area where occupied recreational vehicles aren't authorized.

Tenant Serena Cagle said she began renting the motor home two months ago for $350 a month.

"There's no heat or air-conditioning," Cagle said, as she sat on the house patio, which was swarming with flies and littered with trash and unused household items. "The water has been shut off since I moved in."

The Carrions have 30 days to repair and clean up the house. If completed to the city's satisfaction, tenants could move back in.

"If I find another place, I'm not coming back," Cagle said.

Earlier this year, tenants were evicted from 13 apartments at three houses on North Ivy Street for their health and safety after the city found multiple code violations there. A new owner is now repairing the buildings, Fechtler said.

In the past year, the city has condemned eight buildings in which residents were ordered to vacate, he said.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.