ADAMS -- A vacate order two months ago has led to a dwindling number of Dug-Out Motel occupants, people who are now being assisted by the motel's court-appointed receiver Douglas Rose, of New York, and a local housing organization.
Of 12 occupied rooms at the time of the Board of Health-issued order, five or less contain tenants, another room having been scheduled to be vacated Friday.
This is largely thanks to efforts by the town and Berkshire Regional Housing Authority's Tenancy Preservation Project (TPP) arm.
"As fast as I can get [tenants] relocated, I want them out of that motel," TPP Program Coordinator Lauren Bolio said Friday.
Bolio said most are being relocated to apartments in North Adams. Some were given priority housing status due to the vacate order.
These former tenants now also pay less for their new accommodations than the $700 to $900 per month they were paying at the Dug-Out. Among relocated former tenants, the highest cost of rent is $600 per month.
Rose, on the other hand, is working to improve conditions for those who haven't yet left the motel.
Back in November, when the Board of Health issued its order, conditions there were found to be below state building and sanitary codes: The rooms in some cases overpopulated; nearly all tenants staying on a permanent basis, against the 30-day-stay rule for buildings zoned as motels; and other problems included sodden floorboards, absent carbon
Motel owner Shoba Inc. is handling Rose's recommended improvements.
Avtar Baweja and Gurinder Baweja, of Guravtar Enterprises LLC, had managed the property since 2009, but were expelled from the premises on Dec. 21.
"On or about December 21, 2012, the Receiver stipulated with counsel for Shoba that Shoba, as legal title holder and mortgagor, is in the best position to provide funding and interim property management for the Dug-Out Motel," a recently filed report from Rose reads.
"Shoba has in the intervening weeks undertaken to provide fuel for the heating and hot water systems, electrical service to the facility and trash removal services for the facility."
He continued, " ... In light of the prospects of condemnation of [the Dug-Out] by the town of Adams, TPP and your Receiver would endeavor to set a deadline of May 1, 2013, for vacation of the premises by any and all occupants."
Bolio thought the time frame was generous.
"We're shooting for much sooner," she said.
To reach Phil Demers, email