Posted 10:34 AM 2/10/2012 : Judge sorts through landlord-tenant dispute
A Pueblo magistrate will try to unravel a complex tenant-landlord dispute that left 17 people homeless.
Last week a four unit home on West 8th Street in Pueblo was locked up because the manager of the property said the tenants weren't paying the rent. The tenants claim they have been paying. After a hearing this morning the cases were moved to next week, including one trial to determine if rent is owed.
The magistrate ordered the property owner, West 8 Partners LLC, to unlock the doors and allow tenants access. But the building has no water, electricity or heat so no one can live there. The property manager, Josh Sutton, told News 5 his company stopped paying the water bill because there was no more money. He said the tenants pay the electric bill, and that the electricity was shut off because they didn't pay.
The first trial is scheduled for next Friday.
In the meantime Posada, a Pueblo homeless shelter, will continue providing the 17 tenants with in hotel rooms.
Posted 9:36 PM 2/7/2012 : Pueblo families say landlord left them out in the cold
Joseph Soey watches over his baby boy, bundled up for warmth, with a little lantern and a lot of worry. He and 16 other tenants, including infants and disabled grandparents say they feel left in the dark after their landlord cut off the water and electricity to the entire apartment building leaving them out in the cold tonight.
"It's just been really rough," Soey says. "The safety of the kids, that's the only thing that goes through my mind, that the babies are going to be ok."
With only the light of a candle, Soey showed us his family's reality for nearly two weeks now.
Only a stove and a lantern work now as their warmth this winter.
"We run to 711 everyday and fill up five gallon buckets and all of these water bottles full of water," he says. "It's hard right now, I've just got to keep my head up for my kids."
Now Posada directors and legal specialists are frustrated and stepping in to help.
Director, Anne Stattleman says, "these tenants have paid their rent, they've paid there deposit, they paid their utilities and they're being unfairly evicted pretty much on the coldest day of the year with no where to go."
Soey says, "that just shows that there's actually people out there who care."
At least tonight, and the next two weeks, Joseph will watch his baby sleep in a warm motel room bed paid for by the non-profit organization. Still the father can't help but wonder what will happen next.
For both sides we did talk to the owner of the property, Josh Sutton, he says he refuses to comment but did say he is filing legal action against the tenants.
The court will ultimately decide what happens next in court, this Friday.
If you find yourself in a situation like this there are a few resources to call.
First, Posada who helps families pay for motel rooms on especially cold nights like tonight, you can reach them at 545-8776 or www.posadapueblo.org Then there's the Wayside Cross Rescue Mission at (719) 544-4000 or http://www.waysidecrossmission.org/ And the Salvation Army at (719) 542-6297 or www.salvationarmy.org.