18 Mississippi families were told they had to leave their apartments. Thanks to a university program, they can stay for now.

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, March 28, 2024

Eighteen families living in Oxford’s Brittany Estates apartments will be able to celebrate Easter this weekend without the threat of being evicted from their homes hanging over their heads.

In February, the residents received eviction notices from Sentry Asset, which manages the property owned by Chartre Consulting in Oxford, telling them they had 30 days to vacate their homes and, in most cases, were not given a reason as to why.

The residents contacted the University of Mississippi School of Law’s Housing Clinic which works with low-income families facing housing issues. On March 26, the Housing Clinic filed a complaint for injunctive relief for wrongful eviction in the Lafayette County Chancery Court.

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A hearing was held on Thursday before Chancery Court Judge Gray Tollison; however, it was a very short hearing.

A Housing Clinic law school student, under the direction of attorneys Desiree Hensley and Jordan Hughes, told the court that they had reached an agreement with Chartre Consulting and that all of the evictions that were not “of good cause” would be halted.

The complaint said Brittany Estates receives tax credits under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program to provide high-quality, affordable rental housing to low-income households.

“Instead of providing safe, decent housing, defendants have arbitrarily threatened the eviction of the plaintiffs without cause – violating their duties to the taxpayers who have funded this enterprise, breaking their agreement with the state of Mississippi and causing emotional distress to plaintiffs,” stated the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the owners of Brittany Estates were terminating residents without good cause; refusing to accept their rent and then pursuing eviction against the residents for failure to pay; charging fees to the plaintiffs that caused their rents to exceed the maximum gross rents that they can charge; have rented units on a transient, month-to-month basis; and rented units “as is” and have failed to rent units that are suitable for occupancy.

The apartment complex was forcing plaintiffs to reapply to live at Brittany Estates following rehabilitation or renovations even though all plaintiffs are eligible to continue to live at Brittany Estates, according to the complaint.

On March 18, some residents received a letter from Sentry Asset that the eviction notices they received in February were now “rescinded,” but did not give a reason as to why it was being rescinded.