HUD cites Jersey Park owners with deficiencies

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Jersey Park Apartment residents in Smithfield were dismayed to receive a letter this month from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development concerning deficiencies on the property. 

The notice, dated Oct. 1, was distributed to all residents of the complex and stated that the property owner, JP Housing LP of Maine, had 60 days to correct a list of problems that include a leaking central water system, expired fire extinguishers, exposed wires and open electrical panels.

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Repeated efforts to reach the individual named on the letter, Kevin McCarthy of JP Housing LP in Portland, Maine, were unsuccessful.

Some residents were concerned that HUD could close the complex. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“That’s really an extreme situation,” said HUD spokesperson Lisa Wolfe. 

Wolf said she’s only seen that occur once in six years, and in that case, the landlord walked away and did not want to be part of the program anymore.

The goal is to get the property back in compliance, said Wolfe. 

Jersey Park Manager Jackie Coleman, who has worked at other HUD properties, said this is the furthest along she’s seen in the violation process. 

Residents have been asking a lot of questions, she said.

“I know it’s scary for them,” said Coleman. 

If HUD did decide to end the contract with JP Housing LP, the residents would receive tenant vouchers to move to another property, said Wolfe.

If the property was sold, and pending HUD’s approval, the contract would be transferred to the new owner, said Wolfe, adding that the current contract does not expire until 2034. 

The Jersey Park apartments have been under contract with HUD since 1981. 

Besides Jersey Park, there are four other apartment complexes locally that receive HUD assistance — Covenant Place in Smithfield, Springdale Apartments and Springdale II in Franklin and The Neighbours Place in Zuni, according to Wolfe. 

HUD inspectors visited the property in September and gave it a score of 37c. 

The number rating determines the frequency of inspections, and in this case, those with less than 80 are inspected every year, according to HUD.

The “c” is given if one or more deficiencies call for immediate attention, according to HUD. 

A failing score is 59 or less, according to HUD.

Wolfe said that if a property owner cannot complete the work within 60 days, he or she can request more time. 

Jersey Park Apartments consist of 80 units that are 100 percent subsidized, that is, all the residents living in the complex are receiving housing assistance through project-based vouchers, said Wolfe. 

Woods Edge LTD Partnerships of Maryland, owns the neighboring complex, Woods Edge Apartments, according to Isle of Wight County assessment data.  {/mprestriction}