Bolivar County Chancery Court Judge Catherine Farris-Carter issued a 10-day temporary restraining order yesterday afternoon against the management of Sunset Village Apartments just outside Cleveland, Miss. The order requires that residents of the ailing complex be provided alternative housing and adequate meals until proper repairs and inspections are completed on their units.
“Defendants are hereby enjoined from attempting to relocate Plaintiffs to their rental units until electricity, gas, and water utility services and all appliances are restored to service at their units, (and) that all units shall be properly inspected and approved by the proper licensed authority …,” the judge’s order states. “Defendants are ordered to house Plaintiffs in hotel/rental units with adequate bedspace until utilities and working appliances have been restored to the units,”
Additionally, the order prohibits any attempts to evict the residents of Sunset Village for missing rent, a threat that multiple residents have received over the month of August.
“Defendants are hereby restrained from attempting to evict Plaintiffs for nonpayment of rent or electric bills for time periods that Plaintiffs are unable to live in their units due to lack of utility services at Sunset Village,” Judge Farris-Carter wrote.
‘Unsafe, Unfair Situation’
Since Aug. 30, 2022, following a gas leak and the death of Deshundra Tate, 31, and her daughter Kendra, 5, nearly 100 households living at the Bolivar County apartment complex have been displaced from their homes while emergency repairs are ongoing. Now, many of the residents who have relied on motel rooms for shelter during the long displacement say they are concerned for their safety if they are made to return to their units at Sunset Village.
Farris-Carter’s order comes in response to an emergency motion from attorney Desiree Hensley of the University of Mississippi Low-Income Housing Clinic, alleging serious violations of state and federal housing law against the ownership of the apartments.
“Defendants are violating Mississippi and federal law by forcing tenants into units without utilities and adequate facilities,” Hensley’s motion reads. “Defendants are part of the
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