Backed-up sewage, widespread mold and other life-safety issues have caused the city to condemn all 24 apartments in a building in southern Lawrence, leaving more than a dozen households seeking a new place to live.
City inspectors began the condemnation process Friday morning at 1821 W. 26th St. Brian Jimenez, code enforcement manager for the city, said 13 of the 24 apartments were occupied, and the city has set a tentative date of Oct. 22 as a date for residents to vacate the apartments.
“There are hallways that have mushrooms growing out of the carpets and the baseboards,” Jimenez said. “Overall, the building is in bad shape. It is safe to say in this situation we have a property owner who isn’t taking care of business as he should.”
Tax records show the apartment building is owned by Park Plaza South Partnership. A search of the Kansas Secretary of State’s business database doesn’t show information for the company, but the tax bills for the property are mailed to an address for Jayhawk Property Management. Jimenez said the city has been working with Rex Tedrow, who is a principal in Jayhawk Property Management. An attempt to reach Tedrow wasn’t successful Friday afternoon.
Jimenez said his department has been in contact with Tedrow for more than a year about a defective roof on the building. Jimenez said tenant complaints at the apartment building grew, and city officials conducted an apartment-by-apartment inspection on Thursday.
“The poor conditions are pretty widespread throughout the facility,” Jimenez said. “The issues just haven’t been corrected for quite some time.”
Jimenez said the city will try to work with the residents who are being displaced, but as city officials learned when they recently condemned a North Lawrence trailer park, charitable resources to help residences displaced by code problems are scarce.
“Unfortunately, there really is no emergency funding within Douglas County for this,” said Jimenez. “We’re cognizant that this impacts tenants who really haven’t done anything wrong. We just try to extend deadlines when we can and work with people. We don’t want to create homelessness.”