Complex’s Rental Practices Probed

Chris Williams. Galveston Daily News. January 24, 1995. p11-A

Galveston- The Gulf Coast Legal Foundation has formally requested a federal investigation into the rental practices of Sandpiper Cove Apartments.

A complaint alleges the apartments denied people housing without giving a reason in violation of federal housing rules.

Galveston attorney Jeff Kemp is representing the owners of the apartment complex. He declined comment on the allegations Monday.

Sandpiper Cove Apartments, 3916 Avenue G, contain 192 units that are subsidized through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The complaint states the apartment managers are obligated to follow the government’s rules because they accept subsidies.

One of the rules requires the managers to tell people why they have been denied admission to the apartments, the complaint states.

During 1994, the managers of Sandpiper sent a form letter to an applicant denying housing without giving a reason. That applicant is named in the complaint under the pseudonym J. Doe.

The federal government’s rules allow someone denied housing to appeal.

Steve McIntyre, the foundation attorney handling the complaint, said such an appeal is difficult without knowing the reasons for denial.

The Gulf Coast Legal Foundation is a non-profit group supported by the United Way.

McIntyre said he is trying to find everyone denied by Sandpiper Cove Apartments from Jan.1, 1992 to present. The apartment complex is required to keep records back to January, 1992.

J. Doe wishes to remain anonymous, because the person is still looking for housing, McIntyre said.

“It is not unreasonable to assume other landlords would retaliate,” he said.

McIntyre said he did not know how many people were denied housing without being given a reason.

He said he assumes there could be quite a few because the denials were delivered in a form letter.

The complaint asks the Department of Housing and Urban Development to:

  • Conduct an investigation.
  • Declare the form letter defective.
  • Force Sandpiper to send a letter stating why people were denied housing.
  • Put everyone who successfully disputes the reason for their denial on top of the waiting list.