Lawsuit filed on behalf of Vista Ridge residents

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Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com An aerial photo shows the damage at Vista Ridge Apartments in Tupelo.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
An aerial photo shows the damage at Vista Ridge Apartments in Tupelo.

By Robbie Ward

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A lawsuit has been filed to prevent owners of a high-end apartment complex from charging May rent or removing belongings within a month for about 300 residents.

Tupelo attorney James Moore on Friday filed for an injunction in Lee County Circuit Court on behalf of residents of Vista Ridge apartments just off North Gloster Street to allow them adequate time to remove their possessions from nine of the 10 units the city has declared uninhabitable after damage sustained from Monday’s tornado.

Vista Ridge Apartments LTD is named as the defendant in the lawsuit.

“The written notice advised tenants that their leases were immediately terminated and all items had to be removed by Monday or else Vista Ridge would remove their property,” Moore said late Friday.

“…the Plaintiffs have not been able to remove all of their belongings from the Vista Ridge Apartments and need more time to do so,” state the legal documents filed.

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton posted an open message to residents of Vista Ridge apartments on Tupelo’s official Facebook page and his personal social media page that the city will assist with legal efforts against the apartment’s owners and property management company if possessions are removed.

“I have requested written confirmation that there will be no May rent and you will have 30 days to get your belongings,” Shelton posted on Facebook. “If we do not get that in the next few hours we will help seek an injunction on your behalf in court.”

The city on Thursday designated most of the Vista Ridge apartment units as unsafe for occupancy. However, city spokeswoman Sarah Robinson emailed a news release later in the day stating the city “has not issued an order of removal for the Vista Ridge Apartments or any other residence.”

Efforts late Friday to reach representatives with either the apartment company or the property management company were unsuccessful.

City attorney Ben Logan said he spoke with property owners today and received assurance belongings wouldn’t be removed.

“We asked for that in writing and they were not able to provide it to us by the close of business today,” Logan said. “If that happens, we’ll have a discussion with the attorney general.”

robbie.ward@journalinc.com

  • Kevin

    This is blasphemy! Regardless of what happens, you pay rent–even if you can’t live in the place. This is a travesty to landlords everywhere…why…why this is socialism!! or worse! COMMUNISM!! And if that doesn’t cover it, I can think of another ism or two to level at these money grubbing lawyers!

    • cindirutledgeparker

      You’re kidding, right? I mean you can’t be this worked up over rent for apartments. I commend Mayor Shelton for helping out these people. You should seek out help for yourself. I’m serious! Go now!

  • Kevin

    I guess cindi has never heard of sarcasm.

    • cindirutledgeparker

      Oh, I’m proficient in sarcasm. That was just dumb and not funny.

  • TWBDB

    Are laws in MS that unfavorable to tenants? In most states, the rental property must be inhabitable in order for anyone to charge rent and no landlord has the right to touch your personal property without a violation of the lease or a court order. Natural disaster is not a violation of the lease: neither is refusal to pay within a reasonable amount of time if a property becomes inhabitable.

    My gosh, I’ve never ever heard of such a thing and I’ve never heard of such heartless landlords. Revoke their license to do business in the city immediately.

    • Thile

      While renter’s rights in MS are limited, what’s happening with Vista Ridge seems very odd. If 10 units were damaged, why move everyone out of the complex? It would appear that there were some issues before the storm.