Dallas

HMK Landlord Offers to Sell Instead of Evict

Eviction deadline extended for tenants who do not buy

The West Dallas landlord who spent the past year pursuing eviction of tenants instead of repairing their homes is now offering to sell 130 dwellings to tenants.

HMK Ltd. owner Khraish Khraish said he had a change of heart with the eviction date of June 3 approaching soon.

"I had to sleep at night," he said. "And it got harder and harder to sleep at night thinking that 120, 130 families are going to be put on the street."

The city of Dallas sued last year to delay the evictions until the end of the school year to help families find other homes.

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Monday, Merced Correa signed papers to purchase the home he has rented for more than two decades.

His 20- and 25-year-old daughters, Kimberly and Jocelyn, have never lived anywhere else.

"It's a really, really great house. It may not look great to other people but it's my dream house," Kimberly Correa said.

"It's just very scary, the thought of losing your house. We're just very thankful that we were able to keep it," said Jocelyn Correa.

Other neighbors were not as impressed with the landlord's change of heart.

He offers zero down, 20 year mortgages at 4.75 percent but insists buyers pay $65,000 for each house.

The Correa home is valued on the Dallas County Appraisal District tax roll for $10,800.

Tenant Stephanie Hanson was not offered the chance to buy the home she has been renting and she would decline anyway.

"Based on his actions, I do not trust him. I would not trust him to hold my mortgage," Hanson said. "He can take the houses back just as fast as he could if he were the landlord and you were on a month-to-month lease. So there is no difference other than you are now responsible for the repairs of that house."

Months ago Khraish insisted many of the homes were beyond repair and could never meet the new city codes. Now he said he is giving tenants a chance to help stabilize the area with more homeowners and benefit from the growing investment in West Dallas.

"The house is almost a bonus for all intents and purposes. I'm selling an opportunity to plant roots and stay in West Dallas and enjoy the almost certain appreciation of the land," he said.

A judge on Monday extended the June 3 eviction deadline for tenants who don't purchase homes until Oct. 2, so there is more time for all sides to make decisions.

In prepared statements responding to the HMK offer to make tenants homeowners, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and neighborhood City Councilwoman Monica Alonzo both praised Khraish for taking the step they said they urged him to take years ago.

"We have long felt that increasing homeownership will help lift up our neighborhoods in part by providing a sense of pride among our residents. It's a key strategy to protect against gentrification in areas like West Dallas," Rawlings said in a statement.

"Our goal has always been to provide safe, clean, affordable housing to the residents. Mr. Khraish has said he agrees with that and wants to do right by his tenants. We are hopeful his decision represents a genuine commitment to take care of the residents," Alonzo's statement said.

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