KANSAS CITY, Mo. – U.S. Senator Josh Hawley is calling on federal agencies to investigate public housing in Kansas City.
At the center of his call for action is a company by the name of TEH Realty.
TEH Realty manages almost a dozen properties in the metro and several more across the state of Missouri. Many people who live at the company’s apartment complexes have complained of unlivable conditions.
Hawley wrote letters to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate the company’s practices.
“Large companies managing housing complexes for predominantly low-income Missourians in Kansas City are failing to maintain units in habitable conditions, evicting tenants at higher than normal rates, and failing to pay utilities bills that are the landlord’s responsibility,” Hawley wrote in the letters, citing recent news reports.
Darriel, who asked only to be referred by his first name, has lived at Nob Hill Apartments, a TEH Realty property, in south KC for two years.
“This place, they don’t care about the tenants that live here,” he said.
As temperatures dipped near freezing Friday night, Darriel was forced to turn on his stove to keep his apartment warm.
“Unless all these burners are going, the heat won’t reach the bedroom,” he said. “It doesn’t seem fair for me to have to do that. It’s a hazard, you know.”
Darriel said his furnace hasn’t been working for a month. He said management knows, but they won’t fix it.
The 54-year-old was hopeful about Hawley’s calls for an investigation into TEH Realty.
“Something needs to be done, especially for the elderly and disabled people,” he said.
Nob Hill Apartments is primarily subsidized housing. Earlier this month, the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri notified TEH Realty that it would no longer approve new vouchers at the company’s properties.
Edwin Lowndes, the executive director of HAKC, said in the last 90 days, his office has received 56 complaints concerning the conditions at Nob Hill.
“The complaints range from minor issues to sewer backups,” Lowndes said. “At least one unit was deemed unlivable by the health department.”
Lowndes said his office would be conducting special inspections over the next 60 days at TEH properties that seek to be a part of the voucher program.
Darriel, who is waiting for a voucher so he can move out of Nob Hill, said if he knew what he knows now about TEH properties, he would have never wanted to call it home.
“Right now, I have no other choice,” he said.
FOX4 couldn't find a good working number for TEH Realty, and the office at Nob Hill was already closed when we stopped by on Friday.