Tenants locked into lease at apartment with what they call unhealthy conditions

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn., (localmemphis.com) – Two tenants who live at the Stonebrook Apartments said they ended up with units that “didn’t look anything like the model.”

Rhonda Putnam moved into her apartment on Monday and said she can’t live there with her daughter and husband because of what she said is “mold” in the unit.

“The model looked nothing like the apartment we got,” Putnam said. “The mold, the smell, everything, just shocking.”

Putnam said when she moved in the place was dirty and needed repairs. She said she was shown a model of her unit and said she asked “three times” to see her exact unit, but management told her “no.”

“We walk in and we tell them we’re looking for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath,” Putnam said. “They take us to this model, we put our deposit down that day and then everything just started going downhill from there.”

Putnam’s neighbor at the complex, Tatiyana Schofield, said she had the same experience and the conditions of her apartment are making her sick.

“I have asthma and my man has asthma and that kind of flairs it up with our breathing problems,” Schofield said.

Schofield said she moved into her apartment in early June and said management hasn’t done anything to fix the problems. Plus, another concern for Putnam and Schofield is the abandoned and trashed apartment unit just under theirs.

“The fact that they’ve not taken on any effort to clean it up.There’s milk, food, bread, glass, there’s a hole in the ceiling,” Putnam said. “It’s awful. It’s grotesque.”

When Local 24 News asked the leasing office about the complaints, they said they did not have a comment and they are trying to take care of the problem.

Local 24 News asked consumer protection attorney, Kevin Snider, about what these women or anyone in a similar situation can do.

“The first thing she would want to do is notify the landlord in writing that this needs to be fixed immediately or she is going to exercise her right to rescind or void the lease,” Snider said.

He said by law the tenant must submit, in writing, the problems that need to be addressed by the landlord at least 14 days in advance.

Snider said this can possibly give the landlord a chance to resolve the issues before it could be brought to court.

The leasing office told both women they would have to pay to break their leases, despite the conditions of their units.

Putnam said her advice to anyone who could be in similar situation is to always see the exact unit before signing a lease.

“I don’t care how many times they brush you off or how many times they tell you no,” Putnam said. “You do not sign a thing until you see the unit they are going to renting to you.”

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