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Published: Friday, 10/14/2005

Alleged 'party house' auction fails near UT

Signs remind people interested in bidding on a house near UT of city housing restrictions. Signs remind people interested in bidding on a house near UT of city housing restrictions.

The auction of a six-bedroom house near the University of Toledo's campus failed last night after neighbors put up signs invoking a city ordinance that allows for no more than three unrelated people to live together in a single-family residence.

"It's a party house," said Booker T. Woodard, Jr., who for 18 years has lived a few houses from the single-family house at 2023 Perth St. that was on the auction block.

"It's been a student house all the time I've been here," he said. "It's rough here as it is parties, beer cans everywhere. You can't go to sleep till 3 or 4 in the morning."

Advertised as "university money maker" with "its possible 6+ bedrooms or flip for quick profit," the two-story house in the Bancroft Hills neighborhood attracted four active bidders.

But their bids fell short of the so-called reserved bid, or the undisclosed price the owner had in mind, said James Moody, a property investment strategist with Flex Realty, who was the auctioneer.

Now that the auction has failed, the house will be put on the market and sold through regular means, he said.

"I would like to sell it to a family, because that's what the neighbors want," Ruth Koretsky, who owns the house, said.

They do, indeed, according to Diane Schreiner, co-chairman of the Bancroft Hills Neighborhood Association and president of the Bancroft Hills Block Watch.

"We put up the yard signs on residents' properties because we want to make sure that whoever comes here knows the law, and that if they don't [comply], we will call the city and ask it to prosecute," Ms. Schreiner said.

Mr. Moody said the neighbors' efforts prevented at least two potential buyers from bidding on the house.

A potential buyer who told Mr. Moody he was thinking about renting it to UT students slowly drove by, was recognized by Mr. Moody, saw the yard signs - "It's A Law! Only Three Unrelated Per House!" - and did not stop, Mr. Moody said.

Another person who wanted to buy the house for her family changed her mind because she did not like publicity the house was gaining, he said.

John Madigan, the city's general counsel, has told The Blade that city officials are actively trying to identify houses that violate the ordinance, which has been supported by groups in neighborhoods where student housing is prominent.

Last month, Rick Ross, a landlord for Byrne Hill Estates, also near the university, was found in contempt of court by a Toledo judge who said Mr. Ross and his brother, Larry Ross, required that just three students sign a lease at 3541 Dorr St., but said more students could live there.

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