Three former tenants of the Wood Ridge Apartments are seeking unspecified damages for the expenses they incurred when they were evacuated and later evicted from the problem-ridden Southeast Austin property after one of its second-story walkways collapsed last year.
Melissa Hinojosa, Kimberly Trevino and Brian Jones have filed three separate lawsuits against Wood Ridge and its management companies, Asset Plus Corporation and Asset Plus Reality Corporation, alleging the defendants were grossly negligent in their upkeep of the complex and breached the residents’ rent contracts after the May 2012 incident. The complaints were filed Thursday in Travis County district court.
They are looking to recover at least one month’s rent plus $500, as well moving costs and out-of-pocket expenses they have spent on shelter, food and storage as they moved out and found new places to live, the records state. Jones, who says he was injured when the walkway collapsed and caused him to fall in one of the common areas, also is seeking damages for pain and suffering.
Officials with Asset Plus could not be reached for comment. Wood Ridge, at 1900 Burton Drive, was bought by Flats on Burton LLC in May from its previous owner, David Andrews of La Jolla, Calif., according to Flats on Burton’s attorney Chip Somerville.
Wood Ridge has drawn heavy community criticism since the walkway caused dozens to evacuate May 15, 2012. The property was hit with about 700 code violations, and city inspectors found all of the complex’s 15 second-story walkways to be substandard or in need of repairs, with five “in imminent danger of collapse.”
The new owners were uncertain about the purchase until April when the city’s Building and Standard Commission agreed to temporarily suspend and potentially waive more than half of the $493,000 in fines Wood Ridge had racked up since. More than 160 residents were displaced.