Scott Friedman, NBC 5 Investigates
Dallas City Manager's Office starts review after NBC 5 investigation finds that hundreds of apartment buildings are overdue for inspection.
The Dallas City Manager’s office started a review of apartment inspections after an NBC 5 investigation found city records that show hundreds of apartment buildings are past due for code compliance safety checks.
“We have no excuse to not do the inspections,” Councilman Dwaine Caraway said.
“No. 1, it's a concern and, No. 2, it's something we, the city, must, must correct immediately and try to catch up on the backlog so we can keep people safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata said his office is working with Code Compliance to get to the bottom of what happened.
Most of the buildings listed as overdue are in the Code Compliance’s central district that runs from downtown to the north and east along Central Expressway.
“In this particular area of town, it was way too many missed,” Zapata said.
Code Compliance said more than 280 buildings citywide were overdue. It's hard to pinpoint the exact number because records the department gave NBC 5 are full of missing information and conflicting dates.
While checking city records, NBC 5 found that some large apartment buildings were not on the inspection list at all.
At one located in the West Village, apartment management did everything it was supposed to do and registered the building with Code Compliance. But the city has not come by to inspect -- even though that should have happened several years ago.
After NBC 5 brought the building to Code Compliance's attention, the department scheduled an inspection for early June.
The Dallas Apartment Association, which represents apartment building owners, said it is not surprised to hear that some buildings are overlooked. It has heard from building owners who have gone as much as 10 years without an inspection.
“They call me and say, 'What this is all about?' They didn't know anything about it, and I'll say, 'Well, this is the inspection program that's been in place for a long time,'” said Kathy Carlton, the association's director of government affairs.
Jimmy Martin, the director of Code Compliance, said his department would look at the records.
“I’d have to do more analysis," he said.
Martin promised his department would review the inspection list, try to identify any buildings that were missed and inspect any that are overdue.
“Our inspectors and our management has to be able to tour their district and make sure they identify the properties,” he said.
Meanwhile, people who live in neighborhoods full of apartment buildings said they want the inspections to happen soon.
“You've seen some of properties in our neighborhood," said Beth Bradley, of the Munger Place Neighborhood Association. "There’s obvious code violations from the outside of the property. I assume there's more on the inside."
Code Compliance plans to have all of the inspections complete by July.