In May, dozens of families were left homeless after two walkways collapsed
at the Wood Ridge Apartments in Southeast Austin. We posted about the
incident on our blog on
At the time we covered the story, the Wood Ridge owners were facing 30
citations and fines as much as $1,000 per day. In mid-June, the city inspectors
spent over three hours combing through every inch of Wood Ridge and found
a grand total of 760 code violations. Those violations included everything
from exposed wiring, holes in the wall, non-functioning smoke detectors
and roach infestations.
As of late June, when the Austin-American Statesman last covered the incident,
many of the residents at Wood Ridge had still not been allowed to return
to their homes and a few had not even been given access to gather their
belongings. While the owners are certainly to blame for much of disrepair
and neglect at Wood Ridge, there’s also the issue of how the city
let the apartments get so bad in the first place.
The problem lies in the city’s mode of inspection. Most apartment
inspections occur when someone in the complex or unit complains to the
city. However, low-income residents, like those at Wood Ridge, may be
more inclined to keep quiet than the typical Austin tenant. They might
fear the retaliation of an angry landlord. Or they might fear being labeled
as a troublemaker and denied inexpensive housing in the future.
The city should consider reassessing the way it schedules inspections.
Perhaps if city inspectors had been visiting Wood Ridge more frequently,
they would have noticed the deplorable conditions before the collapsed
walkways forced them to. Fortunately, no one was injured at Wood Ridge.
In the future, the people of Austin may not be so lucky.
If you’ve been injured due to poor building management or
neglect by building owners, you need strong legal representation to receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Kyle Law Firm today to set up a consultation appointment with one of our associates.