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City Of Dallas Reaches Agreement With Controversial Landlord

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -  The City of Dallas reached an agreement with HMK that allows all of the company's tenants to remain in their homes until June 3, 2017, or the end of the 2016-17 school year, whichever is later.

This includes any individuals who have filed lawsuits against HMK, according to a City of Dallas news release.

The city said it asked HMK to agree to address any condition in the occupied homes "that might present a threat to tenants' health or safety, pursuant to earlier discussions in which HMK owner, Khraish Khraish expressed his commitment to do so."

Khraish Khraish
Khraish Khraish (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

HMK would not agree to make any repairs to the homes during this time period, no matter how serious the condition.

Mayor Mike Rawlings, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo and Council Member Carolyn Arnold issued the following joint statement Friday:

"Our intentions in working with HMK over the past 18 months have been about one thing and one thing only: providing safe and decent living conditions for the hundreds of families and children that live in HMK homes in West Dallas and southern Dallas. Mr. Khraish has insisted that he cares deeply about the welfare of his residents. We take him at his word."

HMK property
HMK property (CBS11)

City officials ask that any HMK tenant whose rent is not being accepted or has a condition in their home that they believe presents an immediate threat to their health or safety to call 311 or Adella Casarez at 214-670-5988 immediately to make a report.

City officials said they will communicate with Mr. Khraish any concerns about residences that present a health or safety threat.

Ashton Elder, a Texas Organizing Project leader and West Dallas HMK tenant released this statement on the matter:

"First, this agreement provides much-needed relief to my family and others after weeks spent worrying about simply having a roof over our heads. The fact that my neighbors all came together, organized and stood up to HMK and the City is a significant win for our community. I know that nobody gave us this relief. We had to organize and fight for it.

"However, we all must also recognize that this agreement between the City and HMK is not the long-term solution that our community needs; it is a band-aid. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done.

"For instance, it is upsetting to hear that our landlord, HMK Ltd., does not intend to make any meaningful repairs to our houses that make them livable. Also, while the City of Dallas took a step in the right direction by raising standards for rental properties, it can't just step back and try to wash their hands of this situation.

"We need the City to find money for relocation assistance and for temporary repair of our homes. While the pressure cooker has been relieved some, we don't want to wait until the eleventh hour to figure out where the people who want to continue to rent will be living next. Let's get ahead of the curb.

"For others, like my family who want to be on the pathway to homeownership in West Dallas, we are encouraged by our productive meeting with Mayor Rawlings, and the City's commitment to play an important role in helping us purchase our homes. Our fight continues. It is far from over."

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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