SALEM — A local landlord is being sued by the town for repeatedly housing tenants in illegal apartments on his property.
Since 2004, the town has received numerous complaints that George Camire has used a property he owns at 59 Kelly Road to operate illegal apartments, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Rockingham Superior Court.
He has been ordered by the town to evict tenants from two illegal dwellings — one in a converted garage and another in an adjoining shed — four times since 2004, including twice last year. After each order, town officials returned to the property and found it vacated, only to later receive complaints and discover Camire was renting out the dwelling again, according to the lawsuit.
"Eventually, Mr. Camire brings his property into compliance," states the lawsuit signed by chief building official Samuel Zannini. "However, Mr. Camire then rents out the illegal apartments again, sometimes to the same individual who was previously evicted."
Camire previously has been required to evict tenants in March 2004, September 2008, March 2009 and May 2009. When he was ordered by the town to evict tenants last May, he asked for time to bring the property up to code, but he never followed through, according to the lawsuit.
After officials from the town's Building Department once again found the property was being illegally rented in February 2010, they went to Superior Court to try to require Camire to again evict his tenants and restrain him, or anyone else, from using the property. The town has requested a hearing.
In 2004, the town hired a code enforcement officer as part of an effort to crack down on illegal apartments. In October of that year, Edward McGwire, 44, died in a blaze while he was trapped inside his illegal dwelling on Lake Shore Road. Jeanette Mompo, the owner of the property, never faced charges from the death.
The town has never inspected the interior of the property owned by Camire for safety standards, according to the lawsuit. The town has inspected the outside of the property, which does not have emergency escape routes necessary for it to be lived in, according to court documents.
"The town has no way to determine whether the electrical, plumbing and construction to convert the garage and shed into living space meet the applicable building codes," the lawsuit states.