Trendwood file

The city of Waco has filed a civil lawsuit against the owners of Trendwood Apartments, alleging the owners have not corrected unsafe and unsanitary living conditions.

The city of Waco has filed a civil lawsuit against Trendwood Apartments, accusing owners of the Section 8 housing complex in East Waco of failing to correct dozens of code violations city inspectors identified in August.

The city filed a petition last week in Waco’s 170th State District Court asking for an order that Trendwood Investors LLC clean up the property at 1700 Dallas Circle and pay penalties of up to $1,000 a day for each violation until it is remedied. The city notified the company of code violations in early September and warned at the time that a lawsuit could follow if the issues were not corrected.

“Safe, sanitary, and code compliant living conditions for the tenants of the Trendwood Apartments is a concern of the city,” Waco Assistant City Attorney David Shaw said in a statement. “The city is committed to making sure that property owners adhere to building code and safety standards and has filed this lawsuit to ensure that this landlord makes the needed and necessary repairs.”

Code enforcement officers identified 44 categories of violations in 143 of the complex’s 157 units during an inspection in August, according to the lawsuit.

The city sent a letter in early September warning the owners to correct the violations. At the time, city officials said they hoped a lawsuit would not be necessary.

Trendwood, built in 1963, is classified as a privately owned “project-based Section 8” complex, meaning that it contracts with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to screen and qualify tenants onsite for low-income housing, rather than taking Section 8 vouchers.

“Structures are so insanitary as to be unfit for human occupancy,” the lawsuit states. “Structures and exterior property are not kept free from rodent harborage and infestation.”

Other listed violations include roof drains and downspouts that are not maintained, addresses that are not properly listed and visible from the street, handrails that are not properly fastened in place and interior surfaces, including windows and doors that are not maintained in good condition, the lawsuit states.

Attempts to reach Dallas-based Trendwood Investors LLC officials Michael Gillman and J.P. Vogel were not successful Tuesday. Waco attorney Thomas West, who is representing the company, declined comment.

HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center typically makes a physical inspection of each project-based Section 8 property every two years, looking only at a sample of units.

Trendwood earned 74 points out of 100 during its last inspection, on June 5, Fort Worth-based regional HUD spokeswoman Patricia A. Campbell told the Tribune-Herald after the city sent the complex the warning letter in September. The complex earned an 85 in August 2012, an 80 in August 2014 and an 88 in August 2016.

A detailed report for HUD’s June inspection was not available Tuesday.

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Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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