Picayune residents evicted, given 72 hours to leave - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Picayune residents evicted, given 72 hours to leave

PICAYUNE, MS (WLOX) -

Residents of an apartment complex in Picayune say they have been evicted from their homes and have been given 72 hours to vacate.

On top of that, they say their landlord has pulled out all of the circuit breakers in the breaker box leaving them in the dark.

The seven people who live at a Highway 11 apartment building say they haven't had electricity or hot water since Monday.

"For a couple of months now, the landlord has refused to fix anything. We've got doors that won't lock, windows broken, leaking roofs, everything. Then the owner of this property went down there and pulled all the breakers out of the breaker box not even five minutes after serving us with eviction notices. So we have no power, no way to take a bath. We have no way to eat, no way to cook," said resident Jessica Herbert.

Herbert is disabled. She only has one leg. She says she and the other tenants stopped paying their rent because of the conditions in the units.

"This is the only plug that works in the whole apartment, and I run it with an extension cord to run my TV, microwave or whatever else is electrical, ice box and everything off of an extension cord," said resident Albert Miller.

Chris and Tessie Happ own the building. In a phone interview, Tessie told me all of the tenants are two to six months behind on their rent.

She said the residents haven't reported any problems in the units. She also denied that her husband pulled the circuit breakers out.

Herbert said, "I've been asking them since December to please get me some help with my front door. A lot of the damages were before Isaac, but my ceiling, my roof and several other things we got a flood here during Isaac. And they have just refused to fix anything. If you treated a dog like this you'd go to jail for animal cruelty."

City leaders say the place is listed as a motel on the city's tax roll, and the usual 30 day eviction notification process may not apply to motels.

"They've given us 72 hours to get out, and there's no way I can do that, especially one legged and in this heat," said Herbert.

The building could be condemned, putting an end to the debate.

"Myself and the fire marshal, we're going to come out tomorrow (Thursday) and make an inspection of the facility," explained Picayune Code Enforcement Officer Chad Frierson. "At that point, we will make a determination of the status of the property."

The owners told WLOX they would send their maintenance man to the motel to see about fixing the electricity.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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