Landlord of Neptune Beach collapsed balcony house is 'good guy'

7:19 PM, Jul 5, 2013   |    comments
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NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -- The landlord of the property where a balcony collapsed on Thursday owns several properties in the Beaches area, property records show.

His name is Ernest Russell Jr., but is known as Rocky. First Coast News talked to three people who know him: a former renter, a current one and a real estate agent. Only one would go on camera, but they all say he is a standup landlord.

A house on Bonita Road in Atlantic Beach is one of 6 properties owned by Russell in Atlantic Beach. The grass is grown up and it appears no one lives there.
    
But other properties owned by Russell appear to normal rental properties. A duplex is on Sturdivant Avenue, with an apartment in the rear with an address on Poinsetta Street.

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A young man there trying to visit a friend told First Coast News he used to rent a place from Russell and he was a good guy.
    
Another place is at 84 Ocean Boulevard, another property with a balcony.
    
At 347 3rd Street, another house owned by Russell, we talked to Chris Mullen who along with his brother and a friend, have rented from Russell for five years. Mullen, who has never owned a home, says Russell is a great landlord, the best he has ever had.

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"Any time we call, he is right here to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Anytime we need anything, he is right here, I have never resigned with a landlord 5 years in a row in my life in 25 years of renting," Mullen said.

Mullen said Russell, a veteran, is a handy guy  and he is surprised a balcony fell on his property.

"Sometimes people get hurt and it is unfortunate, I hope it doesn't come down to negligence or irresponsibility," Mullen said.

Reporter: But you would doubt that?

"I would doubt that, if it comes down to character basis, I would stick with Rocky anytime. He is a good guy."

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