Friday, December 2, 2011

Tenants In 100-Unit Apt. Complex In F'closure Left Out In Cold As Landlord Skips Town, Closes Utility Account, Leaves Residents w/out Heat, Hot Water

In Bethany, Oklahoma, The Oklahoman reports:

  • When tenants saw the moving trucks outside their landlord's apartment at Rockwell Arms, they became concerned. When their heat and hot water was shut off a few days later, they panicked.

  • Would the residents of all 100 units be evicted? With Thanksgiving just around the corner, where would they have their holiday meal? “I saw her moving van, but all of us tenants thought, ‘Oh, we must be getting new management,'” said Sarah Shamblin, who has lived in the apartments at 2500 N Rockwell Ave. for more than a year. “We didn't think anything about her moving.”

  • Shamblin said living without heat and hot water for the past four days has been a challenge, especially with her 6-year-old daughter. “To keep warm and hot I clean my house even though it's already cleaned,” Shamblin joked. “We have electricity and we got some heaters. Some of us have central heat and air, a lot of us don't. I have heaters, five of them, but it's still freezing cold.”

  • The tenants pay for their own electricity, but the property manager paid the gas bill and before she skipped town in the midst of a foreclosure, she called the gas company and had the service turned off.

  • Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. received a shut-off order on Nov. 11, asking that service be terminated Nov. 18, spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said. Gas service was shut off Nov. 19 because the utility company did not know anyone was living at the apartment complex. "Had we known ... that people still lived there, we wouldn't have done that,” Ballard said.

  • She said ONG tried to restore gas service to the apartments, but the boiler room was locked. It took a judge intervening to get the gas restored to tenants Tuesday afternoon. However, while the units had hot water, the heating systems still weren't working Tuesday evening.

For the story, see Bethany landlord facing foreclosure moves, leaves tenants in the cold (Rockwell Arms tenants spent the last four days without heat after their landlord moved out of town and had the gas shut off to the complex).

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