Residents of the Bristol Pointe Apartment complex in Arlington received a brief reprieve this week after an electricity shut off was thwarted and a pending foreclosure was postponed until next month. Initially, gas service was shut off at the complex for three weeks, resulting in the issuance of 124 citations because of the lack of hot water. The series of utility shutoffs was caused by out-of-state owners defaulting on their loan and failing to make timely utility payments.
Branch Banking & Trust in North Carolina asked for the properties owned by King Landing to be sold after the owners, Allen and Shlomo Chelminsky, defaulted on a $12.5 million note. But the bank did not go through with the foreclosure, said Mary Tolbert, a bank spokeswoman.
Currently the city is working hard to push through legislation that would require out-of-state apartment owners to establish an escrow account to ensure that utility payments are made especially in the case of a pending foreclosure. Unfortunately, during the housing boom, many apartment complexes became acquired by absentee owners in faraway states who eventually faced foreclosure once the bottom fell out of their real estate cash cow. Now, many apartment complexes in Texas and around the country face the kind of dilemma where they fall into disrepair because their out-of-state owners are facing foreclosure and are not making the properties a priority. If the legislation passes, it will hopefully include stiff penalties for those owners who fail to fulfill their obligations when they are facing foreclosure. Also, banks who have foreclosed on apartment complexes should be penalized if they allow the properties to fall into disrepair or allow residents to go without utilities through no fault of their own.