ALBUQUERQUE – Today Albuquerque Public Safety Director Darren White ordered the closure of the Western Palisades Apartment Complex
For the past five days city inspectors have tried to convince the property’s landlord to address hundreds of violations at the 32-unit complex. On Monday, after a contractor hired by the landlord to make repairs walked off the job, White ordered the facility to be declared substandard.
On Saturday, city inspectors gave the landlord 48 hours notice to fix the problems at the apartment complex or it would be shut down.
“This is the last thing we wanted to do,” White said. “We did everything within our power to compel the landlord to live up to his responsibility to his tenants.”
On Wednesday (Dec. 30) Albuquerque firefighters responded to the complex in the 1700 block of Atrisco NW after they got a call that two adults and two children were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. They never could locate the patients. But, they noticed that the majority of the tenants in the complex were using gas ovens to heat their homes. The city’s Safe City Strike Force responded and discovered hundreds of code violations. Ultimately 10 people were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.
That night city inspectors told the California-based landlord to fix the problems or the complex would be shut down. City inspectors passed out week-long housing vouchers to seven families and secured about 15 portable eclectic heaters that were donated by a local Wal-Mart to help the families while the repairs were completed. However, days went by with no repairs prompting the 48-hour notice and White’s decision.
City officials were at the complex Monday helping tenants find places to stay. More housing vouchers were passed out and representatives from several local apartment complexes were on scene offering discounted rates for the people who live in Western Palisades. One local apartment complex offered to match the rent amount the residents were currently paying at Western Palisades to include a month free for the displaced tenants.
Officially White’s order goes into effect at 4 p.m. Monday (Jan. 4) however; city officials are allowing the tenants extra time to move their belongings.