For months, code inspectors Jackey Attaway and Wayne Donehoo pestered apartment owner Scott Belsley, who says he never had much respect for Code Enforcement, continued to ignore their orders.
“The City had blown hot air for decades, and then Donehoo came along and hit my property, asking me to do things I had never been asked to do before,” Belsley says.
“I want to make it clear that of all the City inspectors out there, Donehoo really knows his stuff.”
Belsley, who owns 19 apartment complexes in East Dallas, says he began to notice a more aggressive push by inspectors to enforce ordinances in 1994 when a separate multi-family division was added to Code Enforcement.
That same year, the City Council voted to require that apartment complexes and condominiums be checked annually for minimum housing standards before a multi-family license was issued.
“They wanted us to do more things in one year than they had in 20 years,” Belsley says. “My only fear was that it was too much, too fast.”
Belsley says he and Donehoo worked out a plan to clean up his property, and he now has multi-family licenses for 90 percent of his apartment complexes.
Belsely says the thousands of dollars he spent on City-required repairs allowed him to raise the rent at his complexes. Blue-collar residents occupy most of his apartments, Belsley says.
“It took time, but we did it,” he says.
Carol Lopez, who manages eight of Belsley’s complexes, says before Attaway and Donehoo were assigned to the area, she and other managers usually ignored orders handed down by inspectors.
“Everyone sort of did what they wanted to,” Lopez says. “Now when they say they’ll be back in 30 days, we know they’ll be back.”
Lopez says she now even requires all managers to keep a gallon of paint to “stay on” the graffiti problem that plagues area complexes.
“I didn’t like it in the beginning, but I appreciate them now,” Lopez says.
“I’ve been here 15 years, and they (Donehoo and Attaway) have made more changes than any other inspector I’ve dealt with.”