Judge rules city to collect rent in southeast Houston "slumlord" case

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A high-profile real estate investor is considering buying the plagued Crestmont Village apartment complex and renovating the property.

Steve Moore is known for turning around more than a dozen distressed apartments around Houston.

"The latest one we did, The Gardens of Bissonnet, that was a place that had so many drug dealers, they tattooed the 7400 on their skin," Moore said, "But it's cleaned up now. It took us about six months."

Eyewitness News talked with Moore in 2014 at that property. He even moved in to an apartment there to personally supervise the renovation. Within days on site, he repaved the parking lot, planted flowers and added security.

He said he is no slumlord.

"We will make sure that everybody is a viable rent-paying person and we will get to everyone's maintenance problem, not day one, but pretty darn quickly," Moore said.

Friday morning, Crestmont Village Property Manager Theresa Gutierrez appeared in court for a civil hearing. A judge ordered someone from the city to go to the complex, collect rent and make sure that money goes toward paying bills.

Moore is touring the property and will talk with the city about a potential purchase.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross was back out at Crestmont Village apartments Friday, handing out hot breakfast sandwiches to children before school.

The city turned electricity back on at the apartment complex on Thursday after residents say they'd been without power since Monday. The city has had a three-year battle with the out-of-state slumlord-owner. They came close to shutting down the property two years ago.

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