Residents of Kansas City apartments tussle between health department and new landlords

By KMBC Staff

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KMBC) — With a leaky ceiling and a lease termination, Dorothea Johnson needs a new home. Johnson said the new property managers, Iron Door Management, were trying to force her and others to leave.

“They’re closing the place down because it needs repairs,” she said.

As new property managers and landlords officially announced the apartment complex’s closure, residents like Johnson told KMBC 9 Investigates that their leases are not being renewed.

This leaves people scrambling to find new places to live in a tight housing market. In the apartments, passers-by kicked down the doors, leaving shopping carts and everything else behind.

The Kansas City Health Department labeled the property non-compliant. Department workers recently forced landlords to move a family with raw sewage backing up in the apartment.

“The property manager on site made it clear to our staff that he wanted us to vacate the property,” said Naser Jouhari, deputy director of the Kansas City Department of Health.

Jouhari said Kansas City’s Healthy Homes program has tools to make sure new landlords are accountable, including charging landlords for repairs, placing a lien on property or relocating tenants and sending an invoice to the owners.

Jouhari also said the health department did not want to close the property.

“After this new property took over, they basically left, they turned their backs on the property and it all fell apart,” Jouhari said.

KMBC 9 Investigates attempted to speak to new executives at Harvard Court. A regional manager said she was not allowed to speak.

“We are refugees, so to speak,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she had a new place to live but wondered how the others would cope as they might also have to move.

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