Residents At Tulsa Apartment Complex Given Eviction Notice After Owner Fails To Pay Bill

Wednesday, December 15th 2010, 8:53 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Dozens of Tulsa families are about to be homeless for the holidays. The owner of an East Tulsa complex has not paid a $79,000 water bill, but it's the residents who will pay the price.

Residents at the Somerset Apartments were told Wednesday that their water will be shut off Thursday and they will have ten days to get out.

Amy Berry was looking forward to spending her first Christmas with 6-month-old Gracie in the apartment she moved into in October. But she learned on Wednesday that won't happen. Instead, she is now scrambling to find a place to live.

"I have $20 in my checking account; I have two children that have been sick for the past three weeks. I barely make minimum wage. I don't have the money for a deposit," she said.

Everyone who lives in the 70 occupied apartments at Somerset is in the same boat. The owner, who lives in California, has not paid a $79,000 water bill, so the city is shutting it off Thursday.

Residents won't have their deposit, or even this month's rent, returned.

"Just to kick someone out like that. I don't get it, I just don't get it," Miracle Sams, a resident, said.

"Where can you go at this time of the year?" said Catherine Mattingly. "It's Christmas. We all have children that are in school. It's not enough time for anyone to move."

Residents say they are shocked, but not entirely surprised. They say Somerset has a history of poor management.

Water is not the only issue at the apartment complex. The trash as well has not been picked up in a while.

But not picking up the trash is one thing, kicking everyone out right before Christmas is another.

Amy Berry says it will be a memorable holiday, but for all the wrong reasons.

"I think this is the lowest thing anyone can do," she said. "Ten days before Christmas."

The city says it will have a water truck out at the apartment complex Thursday so people can at least get some fresh water. The Human Response Coalition will also be on hand to help those who need it.