More than1,000 Whitehaven renters will have to secure new housing unless the property management company makes changes to address numerous complaints of violent crime and drug trafficking.
Representatives for TESCO Properties, a property management company that, according to their website, owns more than 5,500 units across 11 states, is scheduled for an appearance in Shelby County’s environmental court Monday.
According to Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich’s office, TESCO will have to make their case as to why a temporary injunction forbidding any new business should not be made permanent.
During a press briefing Tuesday, Memphis police Chief C.J. Davis confirmed police have received more than 1,600 calls for service of some kind in the last 18 months, including 120 calls reporting a shooting.
TESCO did not immediately return a request for comment.
Weirich said the petition declaring Peppertree a public nuisance does not mean that residents are facing an eviction.
“The terms of the nuisance action simply state that Peppertree cannot take on any new tenants and the current tenants leases cannot be renewed unless there’s further action or intervention by the court,” Weirich said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland promised that, should the injunction against new business be made permanent, Memphis Housing Authority and the city’s housing and community development department will help tenants secure affordable housing.
How the city could help more than 1,000 residents, of which a sizeable portion are children, isn’t immediately clear.
In the Memphis area, the median rent has jumped by 19% since 2020 and many residents are already in a bind when it comes to affordable housing.
The increase, according to reporting from MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, is a result of multiple factors including too few new apartments being built and an increase in the number of apartments undergoing renovations which in turn drive up rent rates.
Peppertree has been declared a public nuisance before in July of 2006, for the same issues.
Environmental court elected not to have the property shut down; instead, a new agreement was worked out between the county and TESCO that included enhanced safety features like parking decals and gated entrances.
Since July 2006, there have been 24 homicides within the apartment complex, according to city data.
Micaela Watts is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at email@example.com.
Nuisance petition signed in Shelby County environmental court
1,600 calls for police service since March 2020
90% of tenants are women and children
18 homicides in the last decade, per data hub
If the injection is made permanent, residents cannot renew their lease. Memphis housing authority and Memphis housing community development will allegedly help residents find other affordable housing options
-BUT, Memphis, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing stagnant wages, rising rents, and a shortage of affordable housing
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Peppertree apartments in Whitehaven declared public nuisance for crime