Wilshire Village Moving Day: They Shall Be Released

The latest from the drawn-out, soap-opera-worthy Wilshire Village kick-’em-out festival: A source tells Swamplot that owner Matt Dilick’s Commerce Equities has informed a tenant that electricity for the 8-acre complex will be turned off on March 28th.

Plus: complaints about what our source terms the “psychological warfare” waged against the remaining residents of the complex on Dunlavy and W. Alabama:

[Dilick] has never identified himself as the owner or contacted [any of the residents]. An army of COH inspectors was here as well as the Fire Marshal touring the property with Jay Cohen, to whom [residents have] paid rent for 20 years. Now [the complex has been] papered with fire hazard and code violation signs. It preys on your mind. Why can’t Dilick say he’s the owner and give . . . a proper eviction notice? Guess it’s cheaper to scare [them] out.

The source also claims a city representative had instructed residents not to pay rent for March, but also told them they could be evicted with only 24 hours notice. And then there’s a little rumor Swamplot’s source has heard — that the place will be bulldozed on March 29th.


But back on February 28th — the eviction date referred to in the original notice Dilick sent out — Commerce Equities’ property director offered to pay $500 (or $250 per person per unit) to residents, and also pay for company-selected movers to transport residents’ belongings to a new home within the Houston area — provided the residents agreed to move by March 27th, and sign a document that “releases and discharges Owner in full and waives any and all right or claim.”

More evidence of the screwy state of landlord-tenant relations in the dilapidated complex: The release form refers to residents as “reported occupants.”

According to Swamplot’s source, most of the less-than-2-dozen “reported occupants” have agreed to the offer — but a few others have so far not signed the form.

Photo of Wilshire Village Apartments: Katharine Shilcutt Gleave

14 Comment

  • I would not be surprised if a certian someone has been parading around like hs is the “owner,” collecting rent. While a certain other “owner” thought the place was vacant. That would not surprise me at all.

  • JPSivco,

    That’s an angle that I haven’t heard yet. It certainly is plausible.

  • Re: JPSivco’s theory… I guess that is remotely possible, but presumably when Dilick bought the place, he took a look at it. He can’t have failed to notice people living there. I guess I could see that happening–barely–if Dilick were from another city and acting through a local broker to buy the property. But from what I understand, he is locally based. So how could he have not known people were living there, save by a colossal lack of due diligence?

  • If his plans were always to demolish the place, all he would have had to see was the place from the outside and not even have walked the grounds.

    It’s like there is a lot of cars there to see.

    Also, if he bought the place, but didn’t have any list of renters or wasn’t even receiving rent, then he could assumed it’s abandoned.

    He could have though some were squatters?

    It’s just a bunch of if’s to through out there.

  • Yeah!!! Finally something to be done with this eyesore.

  • OH my. Gus, how do you decide which words to bold?

  • Even if Dilick was more of an idiot than a jerk and didn’t realize people were inhabiting his property, it still puts him in the ranks as a first-class slumlord.

  • From kjb434:

    If his plans were always to demolish the place, all he would have had to see was the place from the outside and not even have walked the grounds.
    Even if that was the case, it is incumbent on him to do due diligence. Specifically, anyone who buys commercial property has to honor leases. I am assuming that there were at least month-to-month leases for the tenants there–they weren’t squatting after all. He had to be aware that the utilities were still on there.

    I’m just saying that while there may well have been shenanigans going on between Gohen and Dilick, for JPSivco’s proposition to be true, Dilick would have to have really dropped the ball due diligence-wise.

  • Dilick knew. It’s highly unlikely he cc’d Cohen on the eviction notice for sentimental reasons. The city utility fairy didn’t pay the water bill for all those years, and Harry Potter didn’t live there, so the grounds were not kept immaculate by magic.

    And RWB is absolutely right. It is the buyer’s responsibility to investigate property occupancy, not the residents’ responsibility to scream “we are here!” as if they were putting on a production of “Horton Hears a Who”. The buyer then has the choice of continuing to honor the existing leases indefinitely, negotiate new terms, or serve legal notice of eviction for the end of the current lease if necessary. Mileage may vary in the above contingent on propety conditions, but Dilick didn’t seem too concerned about that until it was time to develop the property, at which point it suddenly became too dangerous to live in.

    Why keep residents there? Insurance for an occupied commercial exposure is MUCH cheaper than a vacant one. Vacant buildings or sites have to be secured to prevent problems with the city and attractive nuisance lawsuits. Rent was coming in, even if it was minimal. All roads lead to the fact that it was financially advantageous to not change anything until time to do something else with the property.

  • The City sure will be happier to collect taxes on this. Bill White is definitely looking to increase the tax base.

  • From Elizabeth:
    Yeah!!! Finally something to be done with this eyesore.

    Well, here’s hoping no one says that over your aged remains at your funeral, Elizabeth. If this property had been maintained or owned by someone interested in preservation, it would be stunning.

  • @Manx:RIGHT ON!

  • I really feel sorry for the residents living there. It’s like a really bad sitcom, a slumlord trying all sorts of schemes, a la Wiles E. Coyote, to get rid of the renters.

  • I think its really sad. This could have been an amazing property had it been taken care of. This sort of building is why I love monstrose in the first place. It is really depressing that Americans just want to tear down our historical buildings and build cookie cutter condo’s or grocery stores instead; in a few years montrose will be like all of the other neighborhoods in houston.