Poor conditions lead HUD to end funding with Peppertree Apartments, relocating residents

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cut ties Thursday with Peppertree, a troubled apartment complex in Whitehaven, due to “the owner not providing decent, safe and sanitary housing” to residents, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

In a statement, the mayor said that HUD plans to start relocating the residents over the next several months.

“For over a year, we have led the effort to force Peppertree to provide a safe and habitable environment for these residents,” Strickland said in a statement. “While we understand that HUD will take the lead on relocating and communicating next steps with residents, the City of Memphis will work with them to ensure these residents have a smooth transition.”

The city said residents can start moving out Jan. 14. Though local leaders don’t know where they’ll go, the tenants are expected to be given vouchers for their relocation, which could take months to complete.

“The city has, for well over a year now, actively been trying to force some changes at Peppertree, to see improvements in the living condition for those residents,” said Jennifer Sink, the city’s chief legal officer. “So this has been a long road, so we’re happy to see some type of resolution.”

The announcement means that HUD decided to stop providing federal housing subsidies to the complex, a year after the apartments were deemed as a public nuisance and owners were taken to environmental court.

“HUD did explain that in 2022, there were two different inspections done of the property and the owner received failing scores and apparently is now in default,” Sink said. “So HUD had as a remedy available to them to cancel the contract and that’s what they elected to do.”

Sink said it could take about 60 days for the relocation process for more than 300 families to begin.

A mom at the apartments said that Thursday’s announcement provided a sense of relief.

“I want my kids to be in a healthy environment, this not healthy at all,” she said.

HUD says it will help families on a case by case basis and do what it can to make the process as quick and seamless as possible.

In two HUD inspections last year, the complex got a 51 and 54, which are both failing.

The city said that after these inspections, HUD and the city both gave property owners a chance to make improvements and those never happened.

For now, the city said it will continue to monitor the conditions, make sure all the code regulations are being followed, and then once the property was fully evacuated, a new assessment will happen.

FOX13 has reported extensively on the problems at Peppertree.

RELATED: Owners of troubled Peppertree Apartments have 4 months to make improvements or be shut down

On Aug. 2, three people, including a 14-year-old girl, were taken to the hospital after falling through a walkway, according to Memphis Fire officials.

Days later, another portion of the structure crumbled.

When FOX13 inquired about the damaged walkway, a woman in the leasing office slammed the door shut and refused to comment.

RELATED: Second walkway in 10 days collapses at Peppertree Apartments, residents say

In 2021, the City and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office filed a joint public nuisance action after Memphis Police received 1,600 calls to the property.

The apartments have been plagued by crime and violence, including murders.


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