The decision, however, prompted another, more urgent step in the city’s quest to force the landlord to make improvements to the properties.
The apartments, known as Ivy and Sunchase Square, are in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood of Dallas and are home to many refugee families from around the world. They have been cited for dozens of city and Dallas fire code violations.
The City of Dallas finally sued the owner in November 2021 — months after his attorneys said they first contacted the owner about alleged code violations. This lawsuit stated that the company, Nuran, Inc., failed to maintain gutters, chimneys, walls and floors and failed to properly remove infestations, among other things.
Refugees who live or have lived in the apartments also said KERA deficiencies.
Nuran, Inc. denied the allegations in court filings and said the city did not sufficiently specify what the violations were.
Despite their disagreement over the terms of the apartments, the city and Nuran, Inc. signed an agreement in February. They set a series of dates for inspections and other milestones to ensure continued compliance with city codes.
This “agreed temporary injunction”, as it is called, is what the company asked the court to declare void.
Not enough details?
Nuran, Inc. attorney Aamer Ravji said in court Wednesday that the injunction did not provide enough detail about what the company was supposed to do. He also argued that by accepting the injunction, Nuran had not waived his right to ask the judge to overturn it.
The city argued in a court filing that it was a “delaying tactic” for the company.
In her decision on Friday, Judge Mary Murphy sided with the landlord and dismissed the injunction. She had said Wednesday that Texas law and prior cases supported the landlord’s argument.
As she rescinded the injunction, Murphy said yes to the city’s request for another emergency hearing. This would address alleged “life safety” risks at the Ivy and the Sunchase and examine the evidence presented by each side.
The date for the hearing has not yet been set.
The legal battle in county court is just one front in the war between the city and Nuran.
The company also has sued the city of Dallas in federal court earlier this year, accusing him of violating the freedom of apartment residents to practice their Muslim faith in a prayer room at the Ivy Apartments. The city says the prayer room, formerly a laundry room, needs a permit and certificate of occupancy.
Nuran said the request is a violation of federal laws protecting freedom of worship.
In addition, the complexes are involved in another lawsuit, but not directly.
References to Ivy and Sunchase Square also appeared in a lawsuit involving Nuran and a separate real estate transaction with another company. Documents filed with the Dallas County Clerk indicate that if the other company wins in court, it could consider the resorts as part of a financial reward.
Nuran, Inc. has in the past unsuccessfully attempted to get rid of the “Lis pendens” notice.
“If Nuran, Inc. wants to sell the Sunchase Square Apartments or the Ivy Apartments, they won’t be able to get the fair market price because the notices obscure the title,” he said in a 2019 court filing.