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Resources available for Mid-South renters who are experiencing apartment damages

Landlords are prohibited from retaliating against renters who might seek legal help to enforce their rights.

SOUTHAVEN, Miss — Memphis is the country's eviction capital, according to the most recent study from Apartment List — a company that helps people find apartments.

Due to a lack of national eviction data, the company compiled its report based on information from its nearly 8 million users.

In Southaven, community members are rallying around a family of five who is a part of a string of evictions here in the Mid-South. The Thomas family says they are being evicted after publically speaking out about repairs needed in their Southaven Pointe apartment. 

“We’re not only protesting and calling for justice for them but for everyone that’s staying there because the conditions are similar throughout this apartment complex," Bishop Vincent Mathews Pastor of Tabernacle COGIC said. 

The family says their apartment was filled with mold and had continual leaking pipes, partial electricity, and a sinking floor. 

“We had no electricity in our front area," Justin Thomas said. "We asked about it, we put in work orders, and nothing was done. Since this new management group came, we told them about the dip in the floor and nothing was done.” 

Thomas says that the sinking floor collapsed due to a water leak, causing his pregnant wife Ashley Thomas to fall through into the apartment below.

“Unfortunately, the week before Christmas, on a Saturday my wife fell through the hole in the floor. She fell through, she hurt herself," Thomas said.

After her fall, she said that's when her family, composed of two toddler girls and a boy on the way, discovered mold.

“My pregnancy, I’m already high risk," Ashley said. "I have this coughing coming on, upper respiratory infections and I never knew where it was coming from until I fell through the floor, and we noticed that there was mold." 

Here's what renters need to know when it comes to repairs. 

According to the Memphis Public Interest Law Center and the Tennessee Department of Health, if the problem is a structural issue that is clearly the landlord’s responsibility renters may use their own money to fix the problem and deduct that from the rent, after first notifying the landlord in writing.   

Also, landlords are prohibited from retaliating against renters who might seek legal help to enforce their rights.

“It’s plenty of people I know here that are seeking help, that wants help, but they’re scared to say anything, Justin said. "It’s not over. This is truly just the beginning.”   

ABC24 did reach out to management and they sent us a statement saying, in part, “this is a matter with the landlord and tenant courts and we don’t comment on pending litigations."

For those who are needing help with any eviction notices or proceedings the Memphis Public Interest Law Center, the Tennessee Department of Health, and Micah Memphis, a coalition of community and faith-based organizations that assist renters in knowing and defending their rights. 

All share free information for general educational use only, not as a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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