11/26/08 10:15am

VISTA BONITA APARTMENTS: STILL OPEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Where’s everybody going? Sure, the gas is turned off, but really, what’s the rush? Most residents have moved, but those from about 20 apartments remain in the 144-unit complex near the Gulf Freeway and Airport Boulevard, [Vista Bonita Apartments owner Nanik] Bhagia said. Many of those who remain are close to finding apartments, but are embittered that Bhagia has given them such short notice. . . . Bhagia on Tuesday said residents don’t have to move out immediately — if they need more time, they can have it. State law generally affords tenants — depending on their lease — more time than a few days to move out. Bhagia’s notice to vacate is not a formal eviction process. But he could seek to evict tenants who don’t leave.” [Houston Chronicle; previously]

11/19/08 8:46am

VISTA BONITA APARTMENTS CLOSING MONDAY The owner of a rundown apartment compound on the edge of South Houston where a boy drowned late last month has decided to shut down the entire 144-unit complex rather than correct unsafe conditions identified by the city: “In a brief phone interview Tuesday, [owner Nanik] Bhagia repeated his pledge to refund November rent and security deposits. He said he also would pay residents’ application fees at new complexes, but ended the call when pressed for specifics. Some tenants have said the office often is closed, and they were not sure Tuesday how to take advantage of his offer. Bhagia later e-mailed the Chronicle to say that tenants ‘will be paid when they turn in the keys and do not take away any of our appliances. We are not running away.’ The child’s death prompted more scrutiny from city inspectors, who descended again on the property and issued dozens of new citations. Residents say Bhagia blamed conditions on Hurricane Ike, but the city has been issuing tickets for years.” [Houston Chronicle; previously]

10/30/08 12:27pm

THE CASE AGAINST GOING PAPERLESS At least 72 safety-violation cases against the owner of a run-down apartment complex just outside South Houston were dropped last year because the paperwork was lost, say city officials. A toddler drowned in the apartment’s pool earlier this week. “Randy Zamora, the city’s chief prosecutor, said an outside company hired to digitally scan some 7 million archived and pending tickets might have misplaced the documents. The error allowed [Nanik] Bhagia, who did not return telephone and e-mail requests for comment on Wednesday, to delay for a year facing a jury or making repairs to the Vista Bonita Apartments, 9313 Tallyho. . . . Police investigators said the boy may have reached the murky pool by stepping through a damaged fence or a faulty gate, both of which are violations of city code.” [Houston Chronicle]