Phoenix Apartment Complex Found Guilty of Uninhabitable Conditions

A Phoenix apartmment complex is found of uninhabitable by a city court judge.

After a non-jury trial, Judge Lori Metcalf, of the Phoenix Municipal Court found Woodbridge Apartments guilty of 385 out of 406 criminal counts.  That is a 94.8% guilty rate.  Sentencing is scheduled for September 19, 2014. Woodbridge Apartments are located at 6635 North 19th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona.

Deputy Director of the Phoenix Department of Neighborhoods Tim Boling told ABC 15 News, “this case is probably the most extreme resistance that he has encountered in the city’s efforts to bring a property into compliance.”

This case surpasses the normal landlord-tenant issues moving into issues of basic civil rights.  No one should have to live in squalor.  It took a couple of years, but props to the City of Phoenix prosecutors for pursuing this case.

I haven’t found the legal documents anywhere else on the internet.  I thought I would share them since this is appears to be an extraordinary case for the City of Phoenix.  See the criminal findings by Judge Metcalf below.  Also, the entire civil complaints against Woodbridge Apartments from 2012 are also provided below.

Woodbridge Apartments - Phoenix, Arizona
Woodbridge Apartments – Phoenix, Arizona – Photo taken by AzCommonLaw

Case History

After complaints from residents of Woodbridge Apartments the City of Phoenix began an investigation.  Residents invited Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department on July 11 , 2012 to come out an inspect the premises, according to the Arizona Republic. However, inspectors were limited by the apartment complex to only individual units where they were invitees.  Inspectors wrote up 46 civil citations for occupied units lacking air-conditioning, officials said.

Based upon the findings from the first from the first trip out the City filed for and received a searched warrant to inspect the entire premises on Aug. 21. A  six-hour inspection netted 359 violations, according to the Arizona Republic article.

Two years ago city prosecutors filed a civil suit against the owner and won a $47,000 judgment, reports ABC 15 news.  That verdict is being appealed.

This time, the City went to Criminal Court.  The City Criminal Court found Woodbridge Apartments guilty of 385 criminal counts and will be sentenced on Sept. 19, 2014.

Summary of Charges

There are 406 charges against the central Phoenix apartment complex.  That is way too many to go line by line on here.  So I will provide a summary of the types of charges filed, and the apartment complex subsequently found to be guilty of violating city municipal code and state law.

The City of Phoenix claimed:

Woodbridge apartments failed to correct or repair unsafe conditions after they were previously declared unsafe (many of these had multiple charges).

  • multiple stairways,
  • exterior railings,
  • hose bibs,
  • exterior balcony,
  • missing breakers in electric panel,
  • missing sewer caps,
  • stairs without rails,
  • ceiling joists,
  • hole in exterior wall,
  • exposed interior wiring,
  • missing bolts on handrails,
  • lighting conduit,
  • junction box on light pole,
  • broken beam supporting structure, parking canopy.

Failed to maintain land free from accumulation of garbage or blight.

Failed to provide electrical service to multiple dwellings (multiple counts).

Failed to comply with the Fire Code of the City of Phoenix.

Did not maintain plumbing system, or fixture, or gas connection to be hazard free as to prevent structural deterioration or health hazards.

Violated the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance by failing to maintain a foundation, exterior wall, roof or other exterior surface in a structurally sound and weather tight condition.

Woodbridge Apartments - Phoenix, Arizona - Photo taken by AzCommonLaw

Woodbridge Apartments – Phoenix, Arizona – Photo taken by AzCommonLaw

Criminal Findings

 

 

Civil Complaints

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