Apartment owner given more time to repair dilapidated apartments

Posted Friday, Jul. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A municipal court judge on Friday granted the owner of a dilapidated east Arlington apartment complex additional time to make more than $1 million in needed repairs before facing civil penalties or city demolition of the property.

In February, the municipal court declared the La Joya Apartments in the 1700 block of New York dangerous based on the city’s documentation of unsanitary and hazardous conditions, including mold, roaches and leaking raw sewage, at the 185-unit complex.

The owner, Theodore Hansen of Utah, failed to meet the court’s original May 22 deadline to bring the property up to code, city officials said.

Associate Municipal Judge Teresa Evans extended Hansen’s new deadline to Sept. 12 on Friday and is requiring him to provide the city with weekly updates on repairs.

Inspectors were first called to the complex Oct. 31 to check a reported water leak. They found that a pipe had been leaking there for months, flooding vacant downstairs units.

The Fire Department ordered the building with the flooded apartments to be vacated, which led to a unit-by-unit inspection of the complex’s nine buildings. The flooded building remains closed.

As of Feb. 1, inspectors found 1,020 code violations had not been addressed at the complex, in the 1700 block of New York Avenue. After a new inspection on Friday, Code Compliance Supervisor Brian Daugherty said he saw little evidence that repairs are being made.

“There had been very, very minimal progress. It was basically in the state it had been in,” Daugherty said.

In May, the Arlington Municipal Court fined Hansen more than $82,000 for 154 code violations found at La Joya Apartments, Daugherty said.

The city of Arlington has previously estimated it would cost $1.9 million to bring the property up to code but an independent estimate done by Hansen had repairs at just over $1 million, Daugherty said. The apartments were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

The city plans to post notices on the doors of the 79 occupied units at La Joya Apartments to update tenants on what is happening at the complex and also expects to hold a town hall meeting in the coming weeks about the city’s efforts to bring the property up to code.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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