The Hot Beat


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

Fire hazards at Hampton Court, #3

The basement hallway leading to the exit is blocked with shelves and other stuff. Several (perhaps all) the building’s smoke detectors don’t work.

The Hampton Courts are at 1261 and 1263 First Ave. SE, and fire protection isn’t the only problem.

Police were called to the two buildings 279 times in 2008.

One of the basement apartments in 1263 is unlocked and the floor is scattered with debris, with holes in the ceiling inside and outside above the door. The basement ceiling is spotted with holes.

Mold is growing in one of the apartments looking out on First Avenue and paint is peeling off the wall and piling up on the floor.

“These apartments are f—ed up,” said Timothy Van Ostran, who lives upstairs. “Every single one of them has something wrong with it.”

Van Ostran said it’s easy to rent there. No background checks.

“All you’ve got to do is come with the rent,” he said. “You don’t even need a deposit.”

I ran into the building manager, who lives there. He wanted to know who I was. I told him. I asked his name. He said his name was “Johnny.”

Later, we walked outside, where he called the higher-ups at Preferred Property Management, and then said: “Officially, I’m supposed to give no comment, and ask you to leave.”

Preferred Property Management runs the property, which is owned by James D. Houghton, who I called again this afternoon, but couldn’t reach.


Filed under: Public Safety, , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Sam Bergus says:

    I like this blog and where it’s going. One thing I would like, is the addition of a photo of the building in question, this would be much more helpful in identifying what building is being discussed than the address alone.

  2. paulevans says:

    Thanks for continuing the coverage Adam. As I said before, these landlords are costing the taxpayers a lot of money by poorly managing their properties.

    Hey citizens-your money is being wasted, call these guys and complain-The manager is Tim with Preferred Property Management 294-2955
    The owner is James Houghton of Iowa City, 319-341-0641

  3. jzito says:

    Seems like there are already laws on the book addressing these types of problems-hopefully someone from code enforcement can address this. It would be interesting to hear what the mayoral candidates feel about this type of situation.

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