June 15, 2008
Update on Vo's apartments

State Rep. Hubert Vo, who made front-page news earlier this year when it was reported that some apartment complexes he owns were in violation of city electrical and structural standards, has now been certified by the city as being fully compliant on all points.

The inspectors say Vo cooperated in "good faith" with their demands to replace rotting wood, missing balcony railings and exposed wires.

His properties now meet code requirements, said Susan McMillian, an executive staff analyst with the Department of Public Works and Engineering.

Vo, D-Houston, said Friday that he had done more than required, and he pledged to continue working with residents and managers to improve conditions.

"I want people to know that I kept my promise," he said. "I told the city that I would take care of their concerns, and I worked as quickly as possible to make all the needed repairs."

The municipal citations at the Courtyard Apartments on Villa de Matel, which alleged eight structural and electrical problems, were issued 10 days after a warning from the city to make repairs.

City officials only had to issue warnings at the other Vo property, the Northpoint Apartments on Lyerly, to get compliance.

Conditions at the Courtyard Apartments came to light when neighbors complained to District I City Councilman James Rodriguez, who called code enforcement officials for an inspection.

Rodriguez said he learned about the ownership after the city's initial inspection. He added that Vo later asked him to lunch to discuss the issue, and that he was impressed by Vo's sincerety.

"He gave me his word that he would fix up the property," the councilman said.

I'm very glad to hear that. As I said before, this is more like the Rep. Hubert Vo that I have come to know over the past four years. I felt confident he'd fix his problems, and I'm glad to see that he did so quickly and thoroughly.

Some background is here, and a statement from Rep. Vo is here. It might have been nice to give the follow up as much prominence in the paper as the original - it's on page 3 of the Metro section, with a small teaser on the Metro front page - but that's the way it is. The Chron also did a lot of subsequent reporting on similar problems at other Houston apartment complexes. May those landlords act as quickly and as conscientiously as Rep. Vo did.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 15, 2008 to Scandalized!