Tenants forced out of homes may have legal recourse

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The tenants forced to leave their apartments after the City of Glendale deemed them unsafe to inhabit, may have some legal recourse.

"For sure they can demand their deposit back, if indeed they're going to be permanently vacated from these dwelling units. And it appears that it could go on for quite a while," said Ken Volk, the president of the Arizona Tenants Advocates.

Last Thursday the City of Glendale informed residents in 19 units at the Glendale West Apartments that they could no longer stay there because of imminent dangers.

They were given until 7 p.m. Monday to move out all their belongings.

"I really like that apartment; I don't understand it.. Well I do understand it; it's politics," said Nancy Fuller.

Volk says if the City says it's condemned, it's condemned. But that does not mean the tenants that were forced out have to go without getting some of their money back.

He said in addition to demanding their deposits back, if the tenants can prove the landlord knew about the code violations and didn't do anything to fix them, they could be entitled to more.

"The tenants can probably hold him liable for moving costs, breach of contract, other damages they may suffer," he said.

He admits all these options will require a lot of work on the part of the tenants. They will need to a paper trail and likely an attorney to help them out.

As for ways to avoid landing yourself in this situation, Volk offered a warning.

"If it looks like a dump, it probably is a dump. And if it's a dump, you're the one who probably is going to get ultimately dumped on," he said.

In an email to a 3TV reporter, the landlord said he plans to have people out at property Tuesday morning to go over the issues raised in the inspection to begin addressing them.

In the meantime, the City of Glendale did provide hotel vouchers to the tenants who qualified in order to get them into temporary housing.