MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Attorneys representing owners of the troubled Peppertree Apartments complex were back in court Tuesday, explaining what’s being done since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an end to its contract with the Whitehaven complex.
Although the contract between the owners of the 306-unit complex and HUD has come to an end, families are still living there awaiting relocation.
Proper security, cleaning up trash, and re-inspecting walkways are just some of the concerns surrounding the current conditions.
Ben Sissman, one of the attorneys representing Peppertree, told the court that HUD will continue to fund management operations until all tenants are out. He also said maintenance crews are still funded, meaning required repairs can be done.
Attorney Alex Wharton, who represents the property owner Tesco, is asking for a financial commitment, saying on average it costs roughly $130,000 per month to maintain this property.
“You pull the rug for the funding for the property, but at the same time you are required to maintain operations there,” he said. “The operations are heavily funded by that subsidy that you get that is no longer available.”
But those with the city said their hands are tied, as HUD has taken the lead. A city representative said he doesn’t think it’s appropriate for Peppertree to try to circumvent the process when the city is dealing directly with HUD.
The special master, who works as a neutral party, said there are things that can be done now at little cost to ensure the families who still live here have a safe place to call home.
It all starts with cleaning up old mattresses and shopping carts, which currently litter the complex.
The one thing both sides could agree on is the need to re-inspect the temporary braces put in place last year to hold up and support walkways.
The complex is expected to remain occupied by some families through at least late June, into early July.
The next time city leaders and those with Peppertree are set to appear back in court is March 9.