On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 15, 2023, the City of Kent filed a lawsuit with the King County Superior Court to declare the Phoenix Court Apartments a public nuisance and seek an injunction.

The city said that this action comes after over a year of insisting that ownership improve the safety of the apartment complex.

As we’ve previously reported, numerous crimes have been committed at the apartment complex on Kent’s East Hill, including fatal shootings, vehicle thefts and more.

The lawsuit seeks a number of remedies from the King County Superior Court, including requirements that ownership:

  • Evict tenants that engage in criminal conduct or host guests who engage in criminal conduct.
  • Allow existing tenants to vacate their apartment without penalty and in some cases receive relocation assistance from the owner of Phoenix Court.
  • Complete the security fencing and gate surrounding the property, ensure the entrance code is changed regularly, and ensure the fence is kept in good repair.
  • Improve the safety of the complex by: installing security cameras at each building; improving facility lighting; maintaining a 24/7 security presence; enforcing parking restrictions; maintaining regular office hours in a visible location; immediately repairing damaged windows, doors, and otherwise maintaining the property to code; securing any empty units; and holding tenant safety meetings.

“The Phoenix Court Apartments have been a hotbed of criminal activity, from shootings to stolen vehicles to drug dealing,” the city said. “Over a year ago, in July 2022, the City called a meeting with Phoenix Court management to discuss concerns over criminal activity at the complex.”

Here’s more from the city’s announcement:

“When insufficient progress was made to remedy the problem, the City, in October 2022, called another meeting with management and the Mercer Island company that owns the Phoenix Court Apartments.

“Ownership committed to making needed improvements. Seeing insufficient progress, the City called a third meeting in January 2023 with the property owner and the management company.

“The property owner refused to attend this meeting. That same day, the City issued a Chronic Criminal Nuisance letter to the property owner and the management company detailing required remedies. While some progress was made to make safety improvements to the property, crime has continued.

“The danger caused to Phoenix Court residents and the residents and businesses surrounding the complex must stop. Criminal conduct at the Phoenix Court Apartments has caused fear among residents of the complex and the surrounding community.

“Numerous people have been injured and some have been killed in incidents at the property or in incidents that began at Phoenix Court and spilled over to other properties.

“The continuing crime has also caused a significant strain on police resources. Police responding to major incidents at Phoenix Court are drawn away from other calls throughout the City.

“‘Almost all police departments in the Puget Sound have faced challenges with police staffing, which results in overstretched resources to meet the high demand of emergency 911 calls.” said Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla.

“‘It’s not even close. The current state of the Phoenix Court Apartments poses a significantly higher risk to public safety and consumes a disproportionate amount of emergency first responder resources as compared to its peer and neighboring apartment complexes.

“This is not just a high crime issue, it’s an issue of property ownership and management failing to meet its legal obligation to ensure tenants have a reasonably safe place to live.”

“Residents of the Phoenix Court Apartments and the surrounding neighborhood deserve to live in a safe place,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

“It is beyond frustrating that the City must spend its resources to force the property owner to provide the safe living experience that, as a landlord, they are required by law to provide.

“Our hope is that this action will get the attention of the property owner, swift action will be taken, and that Phoenix Court will be a safe place for its residents and the greater community.”

More info here:


Phoenix Court Apartments are located at 23913 111th Pl SE, Kent, WA 98031:

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