MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It will take four months to relocate everyone living in the troubled Peppertree Apartments, federal officials said in court Thursday.
But until that happens, residents tell the Problem Solvers that management now refuses to fix anything.
Residents have complained about maintenance problems for years. While Peppertree owners fought in court to keep the property open, they never got all the issues fixed.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ended its contract with the apartment complex earlier this month, promising to move the people living there.
One of Peppertree’s lawyers told Judge Patrick Dandridge in court Thursday that, because HUD terminated its contract, the owners have no money to make repairs.
“The contract was terminated. The limited partnership has no funds available,” attorney Ben Sissman said.
But city officials argue that the owners have money available. HUD payments continue until the end of the month, and tenants are paying rent.
“As long as you’re the owners, you’re responsible to make sure that they’re protected while they’re there, conditions are suitable during this process,” Judge Dandridge told the owners.
After the hearing, we asked Peppertree’s owner Jerry Sisson about the conditions, and how the property doesn’t have money if tenants are still paying rent.
He didn’t answer but his attorney did.
“Because it’s a subsidized property,” Sissman said. “Most of the income comes from the HUD subsidy on the property. The tenants’ share of the rent is very small.”
For residents like Tyshiko Kent, who is currently living with a broken window in her unit, that answer is hard to hear.
The judge told Peppertree owners to apply for HUD emergency assistance to keep the property running.
Peppertree owners are due back in environmental court on Feb. 14. At that time, the judge says they must have a maintenance plan to present.
► Got a problem? Contact WREG Problem Solver Stacy Jacobson at 901-543-2334 or email@example.com