Dept. of Neighborhood Services surveys building where porch collapsed

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The landlord of a south side property is now being penalized by the city of Milwaukee after two people were injured during a porch collapse on Thursday, September 19th.

A worker making repairs plummeted from the third floor of the building near 24th and National on Thursday, when the balcony gave way.

Since then, FOX6 News has been trying to contact the building's landlord because the contractor did not have the proper permit. That landlord told FOX6 News he has "no comment," but on Monday morning, he had to answer to the Department of Neighborhood Services.

"We`ve had several conversations where he admitted what he needs to do to work on the building and he assured us he will do so," DNS Special Enforcement Supervisor Erica Lewandowski said.

Meanwhile, 2405 W. National has been deemed uninhabitable.

In order for the landlord to even get back on the property, DNS Special Enforcement Supervisor Erica Lewandowski says the landlord must obtain an alteration and repairs permit to work on the rear porch system that collapsed.

Lewandowski says as a penalty, the permit fee will now be four times the normal rate, and the landlord will face other stipulations.

"He will need to meet with a licensed design professional who will engineer a rear for him. He will also be required to have an occupancy permit which will bring inspectors through to make sure the entire building is safe for people to reoccupied," Lewandowski said.

For some residents, the intended repairs come too little, too late.

On Thursday, 33 tenants were displaced, and were taking shelter with the Red Cross. As of Monday, the number of those still seeking shelter was eight.

Community Advocates has since stepped in to help residents piece things together.

"It's something that is overwhelming very disheartening. We are providing resources so that they kind of have some starting point somewhere to being looking as far as housing," Shawanna Campbell with Community Advocates said.

Those at Community Advocates are working to ease the burden for residents who are already financially strapped.

"We are prepared to offer them at least the first month`s rent payment. Sometimes we go above and beyond," Campbell said.

Campbell says they will also do a background check to be sure the new landlords are up to code.

"We just want to look into the property and make sure it's current with property taxes and those landlords are not in foreclosure, those properties don`t already have a gang of violations and could potentially put them in a similar situation," Campbell said.

It seems the crumbling balcony at the building on 24th and National isn't the only issue now being addressed.

DNS says it noticed some tampering to the electrical systems as well as minor fire code violations.

Lewandowski says based on conversations Monday, the landlord did have plans to do work to reopen the building.