Feds find few faults at Apple Ridge Apartments

Steve Garrison
The entrance to the Apple Ridge Apartments is pictured on Oct. 9 in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Federal housing officials who inspected the Apple Ridge Apartments in December determined the property was in satisfactory condition, according to a 52-page report obtained by The Daily Times.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stated in the report that a quarter of the apartments at the Apple Ridge Apartments were randomly inspected on Dec. 10, less than three months after the body of a 64-year-old tenant was found at the apartment complex. The tenant's September death went unnoticed for at least two weeks, which upset residents and lawmakers who felt previous complaints about dilapidated buildings and criminal activity at the complex were being ignored by management.

Inspectors noted in the report only a few minor deficiencies with the apartments — one unit was missing baseboards in the kitchen and living room and another unit's stove had a loose heating element. Inspectors stated the west side of the property needed additional lighting, an issue the company that owns Apple Ridge Apartments, Yes Housing Inc., had agreed to address this spring.

The inspectors also noted some tenant leases were missing signatures and reprimanded management for charging tenants a fee for replacement keys without first receiving HUD approval.

However, the inspectors stated that three-quarters of the residents interviewed made positive comments about their apartments and were satisfied with management.

"HUD has invested a great deal of time and effort evaluating the property and is satisfied with the management of the property and the property's physical condition," according to the report.

Former Farmington City Councilor Mary Fischer said Wednesday she was disappointed by HUD's assessment, but not surprised.

"It's just another example of government dysfunction," she said. "I doubt seriously if any of the inspectors involved would want their parents or grandparents to live in that environment."

Councilor Gayla McCulloch could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but she expressed dissatisfaction with HUD's preliminary assessment when it was revealed in January.

Apple Ridge Apartments is a tax-payer subsidized housing complex owned by Yes Housing, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation established in 1990 in Albuquerque. The complex is managed by Phoenix-based Dunlap & Magee.

Neither company responded Wednesday to a request for comment.

The inspection report was obtained by The Daily Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.