MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) – Residents in Meriden need to move out of their home as a gaping sinkhole continues to creep closer to the foundation.

The city says it’s ready to fix the problem, but the landlord is holding out on one condition.

The tenants at the Liberty Street home are no longer there because as long as the massive sinkhole is there, the city deemed the home unsafe.

Since Channel 3’s last visit to the home, there is now fencing up to keep people safe.

Meriden’s city manager told Channel 3 that the building inspector declared the home unsafe last week, not because of the building’s structure, instead the deepening sinkhole sits about three feet from the foundation.

“I understand. Let’s be real, there’s a real concern for a large crater in the backyard and we want to make sure our folks are safe,” said David Alger, landlord.

In the follow-ups Channel 3 did after first breaking the story, our crews showed a hole exponentially growing. The whole sits on two property lines.

The other landlord already agreed for city crews to cover the hole, according to Meriden officials.

But, a legal battle looms between because the city asked for Alger to sing a “hold harmless agreement,” a stipulation the city won’t be held responsible if something were to happen during the repair.

Alger says he wants to know why he’s on the hook for this crater.

“Anything that’s going on here has adversely affected our property. We’re the victims. We’re not the cause of this,” Alger said.

Channel 3 learned the problem stems from a 150-year-old culvert made of stone walls and slate. Meriden’s Department of Public Works believes a piece broke off.

Technically, the city doesn’t need to step in, but wants to help. It said the job could be done in a couple days but couldn’t vie an exact cost.

The hole developed Easter Sunday and at last check was 16-feet wide and at least 20-feet deep.

Alger said he hired a structural engineer, but knows the clock is ticking for something to be done.

Nine tenants, mostly children, have left their homes.

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