Family being evicted from Serenity at Highland amid ongoing A/C and hot water issues

·3 min read

A man and his 12-year-old son desperately seek a home after they said they are being evicted from the Serenity at Highland apartment complex.

Eric Turner told FOX13′s Mandy Hrach that the ongoing problems at Serenity have made his health conditions worse, so he stopped paying his rent.

Turner said management originally said he had to be out on June 15, but they’re now giving him another week to figure things out.

RELATED: Owners of troubled Serenity Towers back in court following Code Enforcement inspection

“If it was up to me, I’d have this place shut down, and they need to remodel the inside and out because it is infested,” he said.

It’s been a year since Turner and his son moved into the Serenity at Highland apartment complex.

Since then, they’ve had countless days with no air or hot water, along with bugs and mold inside their apartment.

“Sometimes, I had to sleep in the hospital because it was so hot,” Turner said.

Now, he and his son are getting evicted.

“These past few months, I haven’t been paying any rent,” Turner said. “I feel like if I got to go and do this, I shouldn’t be paying any rent because y’all aren’t taking care of us.”

The A/C is finally fixed in Turner’s apartment, but there are still many other problems.

He said his stove hasn’t worked in at least eight months, and bugs keep coming through the holes in the wall.

“We can’t cover it because we have nothing to cover it with,” Turner’s son Dearron McKinney said.

As the two look for a new place to call home, Turner said he wants management to do more for the residents still living here.

“Even though I am getting evicted, I just want better living for the people in this place,” he said.

Under Tennessee law, if you are renting and haven’t been provided essential services like air and hot water, you can withhold rent until services are restored under the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.

However, you have to give your landlord written notice and detail what services are not being provided.

The landlord then has 14 days to fix the problems. If they don’t, you are legally allowed to withhold the money.

RELATED: Inspection report reveals overall condition of Serenity Towers is ‘very poor’

On Tuesday, code enforcement told a Shelby County Environmental Court judge they’d received over 80 complaints of units that still do not have working AC and over 90 that don’t have hot water.

On Wednesday, management at Serenity held a town hall meeting for residents to voice their concerns.

FOX13 was not allowed to go inside for the town hall meeting but did talk to a resident afterward, who said several concerns were brought up.

RELATED: Repeated delays in providing air conditioning leave Memphis apartment residents frustrated and hot

Willie Westbrook has lived in the apartments for four years.

Since living here, he said he’s dealt with no AC, no hot water, mold, and bugs.

His unit has AC now, but he said there are still a lot of problems that need to be addressed.

Westbrook said managers told residents that they were working on the issues and that cleaning up the common areas and the hallways was a main priority.

“He was saying really that they’re getting ready to upgrade the building and that we should be patient and try to clean up on our part too to kind of help out,” Westbrook said. “Time will tell to see if they will do what they say they’re going to do.”

RELATED: ‘It’s inhumane’: Assistant DA uncovers deplorable conditions at local apartments with no AC

Wednesday’s town hall was for residents living on the east side of the complex.

There will be another town hall for west-side residents on June 16.

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