Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter
The owner of the La Joya Apartments on New York Avenue in Arlington is scrambling to fix nearly 500 city code violations.
The owner of an Arlington apartment complex has been cited after violating 477 different city codes.
Code compliance officers found violations in 100 different units at the La Joya Apartments on New York Avenue in East Arlington. The hazardous conditions forced many tenants into other buildings.
The city said 25 citations have been issued so far, with the rest being processed. Fines are being assessed daily.
The violations included roaches, trash and animal feces in apartments, as well as mold and standing water, although the city said some of those units were unoccupied.
"They're very serious conditions that no human being should have to live with this," said Sue Phillips, president of East Arlington Renewal, a group focused on the betterment of East Arlington. "These homeowners need to be held extremely accountable."
The city said the property owner is arranging repairs and was unaware of the issues.
Attempts to contact the owner, which has a Utah-based address, were not returned Monday.
People who live and work nearby the La Joya Apartments said the owner has been uninterested in repairs for years.
Jorge Lorenzana, senior pastor at the House of Prayer for All Nations, which is located right next door complex, said his congregation often tries to lend a hand to its low-income neighbors. He said many of their living conditions are deplorable.
"Since it's very inexpensive for a lot of people to live there, they get used to it because they have to, not because they want to," he said.
Residents in surrounding neighborhoods, nearby business owners and the church said they have also suffered.
"We always have issues with things like trash, crime," Lorenzana said. "It has been a sensitive area, and the police have been very involved. Places or properties like that tend to promote the deterioration of the whole neighborhood."
"Those apartments are not on an island," Phillips said. "This affects everybody in Arlington."
The city said it would inspect more buildings on the property later this week.
While there's much work to be done, there's still hope, Lorenzana said.
"I think if we all work together, East Arlington can experience a renewal," he said.