The Hot Beat


The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him:

Hot Property #3: 1261 First Ave. SE

Hampton Court Apartments

This is actually two apartment buildings — 1261 and 1263 First Ave. SE. I’ve got them listed separately on the map, but the two buildings are next door to each other, they both have 18 units and they’re owned by the same guy.

Police were called to one of the two buildings 279 times in 2008. That’s more than five times a week.

The company that owns the buildings is called simply 1261-1263 LLC, which was incorporated by James D. Houghton. Houghton lists an Iowa City home address.

His property’s history is a litany of drug and assault charges, and other types of police blotter items.

I called Houghton’s home, and left a message.

The questions I might ask these landlords are beginning to coalesce in my mind, thanks in large part to Ray T’s suggestions. I would appreciate further suggestions. Here’s what I’m thinking so far:

– Why do police have to spend so much time at your property?
– Do you have an application process? What is it?
– Do you do background checks?
– Do you have rules on how many people live in each apartment?
– How often do you check on guests in your properties? What are your rules about guests?

Filed under: Public Safety, , , , ,

11 Responses

  1. DG says:

    If the owner of the property will not answer your questions possibly other landlords in the area would be willing to give some guidance on how they would solve these problems.

    In addition they may have an opinion on how the City should deal with landlords that refuse or are unable to handle these types of properties.

    • paul says:

      The owner and management of these units have allowed them to deteriorate and become a crime haven. In the past, they either have not checked backgrounds of tenants or did not care when they did. They don’t even require a security deposit. They know that these are crack houses. The units are full of trash from all over the state, people with bad backgrounds who couldn’t rent anywhere else. This cost us tax money and ruins our community.
      The manager is Tim with Preferred Property Management 294-2955
      The owner is James Houghton of Iowa City, 319-341-0641.
      These guys are making money while costing the taxpayer thousands.

  2. concerned_citizen says:

    Another question: Would they revise their current involvement in their properties if police shifted accountability to property owners via fines, fees, or requiring licensing for landlords?

    Do landlords have a criminal activity clause in their rental agreements allowing them to expedite evictions for habitual or problem offenders?

  3. paul says:

    I called the owner at his work last week. I pointed out to him that for over a year, the property manager has been renting to basically anybody with very little background checking going on. He blamed Preferred Property Management. There is no magic or little known plan to this. Just screen your tenants and require that they stay within the law to continue their residency.

    • paul says:

      I also wanted to note that the public hallways of the white building are usually filthy, at least last time I was in there, about three months ago. I don’t know he can expect to attract well-behaved tenants without cleaning the building occasionally.

  4. adambelz says:

    Thanks for the information Paul. Very helpful.

  5. Sandra says:

    I once lived in an apartment complex where they informed everyone that the FIRST time the police were called because of a problem they created, or their guests created, they would be evicted immediately! I never saw a single police car. I also have to say that, as much as we don’t like it, these people have to live somewhere. They deserve our pity for their sad lives.

  6. Bruce Walton says:

    Nice try guys, Legal Aid lawyers and the judges in cahoots with them would have you up to your eyeballs in expenses and throw out all your evictions just because you don’t have a jd and a nice suit… they are just helping the poor little drug dealers and crackheads… welcome to the real world where the law is upheld for the poor unfortunates…:)

  7. jbnl25 says:

    Is the owner the same James Houghton that is an attorney in Iowa City?

  8. […] Hampton Courts are at 1261 and 1263 First Ave. SE, and fire protection isn’t the only […]

  9. […] Hampton Courts are at 1261 and 1263 First Ave. SE, and fire protection isn’t the only […]

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