Hearing Tomorrow in Case Against Dallas Landlord

Tomorrow, attorneys representing the City of Dallas and the tenants of Topletz Properties will ask for a court injunction that would prevent the notorious Dallas landlord from increasing rent, evicting tenants or taking other retaliatory actions while the case against the company continues. The city’s original complaint, filed in November, accuses Topletz of renting hundreds of properties with numerous code violations to low-income tenants. Attorneys say the standard Topletz lease requires renters to pay for repairs and ongoing maintenance in violation of the Texas Property Code. “This case is not just a matter of city code compliance or some other municipal regulation, says attorney Michael Hindman, who represents the tenants together with attorney Mark Ticer. “Currently, if something breaks, then it’s up to the renter to fix it or pay for it. What’s really broken is the Topletz way of doing business.

Earlier this year, Topletz sent letters to tenants telling them to not allow city code inspectors or neighborhood services personnel into their homes. At least one tenant received a form letter asking for their signature that claimed they were “completely satisfied” in their home and that the property “needs no repairs” and “is in compliance with all City of Dallas codes.” In contrast to the company’s letter, the two lead plaintiffs’ properties have inadequate heating, cooling, electrical circuits and water, among other violations. In addition, each home was judged to be structurally unsound by City of Dallas inspectors. The temporary injunction hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 9 in Dallas Judge Carl Ginsberg’s 193rd District Court at the George Allen Courts Building, 600 Commerce Street, 8th Floor.

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