St. Louis files lawsuit against T.E.H. Realty over conditions at Southwest Crossing Apartments

St. Louis files lawsuit against T.E.H. Realty over conditions at Southwest Crossing Apartments

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ST. LOUIS — The city on Friday filed a lawsuit against an affiliate of T.E.H. Realty, asking a court to order SM-T.E.H. Realty 3 LLC to remedy conditions at the Southwest Crossing Apartments in south St. Louis or sell the property.

The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, describes the complex, located at 7851 Bandero Drive, as a “nuisance property” that poses “a threat to the public safety and welfare of the residents of the City.” 

Southwest Crossing, according to the city’s filing, has a history of building code enforcement issues, and the owner has been cited for more than 68 violations of the city’s property maintenance code. Fourteen units at the 328-unit complex have been condemned for occupancy, the city said.

Tenants at the complex launched a rent strike on Sunday, complaining of poor living conditions, including mold, broken windows and fixtures, plumbing problems and lack of heat. 

The property owner is “several thousand dollars in arrears” on its city water payments, and allowed a contract with a trash hauler lapse, the lawsuit states. The city has continued to provide water service, and has been collecting trash.

A Post-Dispatch review shows the city this year has received 76 complaints about mold, insufficient heat, defective plumbing, mice and roach infestations and other problems at the apartment complex.

The newspaper has documented health and safety issues at T.E.H. properties since May 2018, but problems came to a head in early November after the company failed to pay managers and maintenance workers. Angry workers confronted T.E.H. representatives and contractors at Southwest Crossing Apartments on Nov. 4. Since then, conditions at the complex have continued to deteriorate.

On Friday, Mayor Lyda Krewson said via Twitter: “Enough is enough,” and announced the city was suing.

A T.E.H. Realty representative could not be reached for comment Friday.

Problems at several area T.E.H. Realty-managed properties have led to several lawsuits and calls for investigations in recent weeks.

Late last month, T.E.H. Realty investor Michael Fein, in a brief email to the Post-Dispatch, wrote “there are changes in the works,” but did not elaborate.

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