Kay Anderson

Yale Park landlord Kay Anderson, center, with inspectors on Sept. 21, the day after the property was evacuated.

The landlord of the Yale Park Apartments evacuated by the city last fall has countersued dozens of his former tenants, saying they didn’t properly clean their homes or give him adequate notice of needed repairs.

The suit says Kay Anderson and AB Realty, the limited liability company that owns the apartment complex near 34th Avenue and Lake Street, have lost rental income since the apartments were shut down on Sept. 20.

The suit also says that tenants caused at least $1 million worth of damage to the property. It seeks unspecified damages.

The landlord’s suit is a counterclaim, filed earlier this week, responding to a lawsuit brought by 92 former tenants in December.

In their complaint, the tenants, refugees from Myanmar, asked for the return of security deposits, rent refunds and other damages related to living in what they called “slumlike conditions.”

Five hundred residents were displaced and forced to find new homes when the apartments were closed.

“We think the counterclaims are wholly without merit and we intend to continue to pursue our claims vigorously,” said Mark Laughlin, one of the attorneys representing the former tenants.

The counterclaim says the former residents didn’t hold up their end of their lease agreements, which required renters to clean their apartments, properly dispose of garbage and keep their homes pest-free.

“The discounted rent charged to plaintiffs was contemplated, set and reduced specifically because of the plaintiffs’ agreement to perform certain duties and obligations, particularly related to maintenance, upkeep and cleanliness,” the suit reads.

Anderson previously said he charged $550 to $595 for two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Instead of directing complaints and maintenance requests to Anderson, the suit says, residents filed “false, misleading, slanderous” housing complaints with the city, spurring the mass inspection and evacuation.

Tenants said their concerns about bedbugs, holes in the walls and plumbing problems were repeatedly ignored.

The city cited Anderson for nearly 2,000 code violations and has filed 100 misdemeanor charges against him.

The counterclaim says the housing complaints and tenant lawsuit are part of a larger campaign to force a sale.

“The complaint was designed and is being maintained to harass the defendants in a malicious and concerted effort to attempt to coerce and intimidate AB Realty to sell and/or abandon the Yale Park Apartments,” it reads.

Jason Bruno, Anderson’s attorney, said his client doesn’t relish suing his former tenants.

“We didn’t ask for this,” he said. “We are reacting because we were forced to react by both the tenants and the City of Omaha, and whoever’s pulling their strings.”

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Reporter - Education

Erin is an enterprise reporter for the World-Herald. Previously, Erin covered education. Follow her on Twitter @eduff88. Phone: 402-444-1210.

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