11 Investigates: Tenants Concerned About Paying Rent While On Verge Of Losing Utilities

11 News is getting calls from local tenants who are on the verge of having their utilities shut off unless the owner pays the bill.

Those tenants are wondering if they should pay May's rent with everything that's going on.

It is getting down to the wire for hundreds of families at the Pine Creek Village Apartments in Colorado Springs.

They received a notice that their utilities will soon be shut off, unless the owner pays the bill by Friday, May 9.

"Do I pay my rent and nine days later get kicked out and there's $500 of my money in this guy's pocket and I have nowhere to go, or do I hold onto it because at the last minute he pays it?" said one tenant.

11 news obtained a copy of the apparent bill, which shows the owner owes at least $200,000 to Colorado Springs Utilities.

And according to a CSU official, the bill has still not been paid as of May 1.

If the utilities are shut off, the building will have to be condemned and everyone will be forced to leave.

A local lawyer who has been alerted to this situation tells 11 News if the tenants want to keep living there they should pay this month's rent so they don't get evicted.

The director of United Way's 211 program tells 11 News they are getting calls daily from worried tenants.

"Their main concern is that they need to find another place to live or they're fearful that they will be displaced from their homes, and unfortunately there's not a lot of affordable housing here in Colorado Springs," said Michelle Milner, director of 211 at the Pikes Peak United Way.

If the utilities are shut off and the families are forced to leave, it could create a housing crisis in the community.

"For subsidized housing through HUD section 8, there is a four-year wait list currently. Many of the affordable low income housing complexes that we had in our 211 database we no longer have to give out because there is a one to two-year wait list on those as well," said Milner.

Milner says 211 is referring tenants to Colorado's Legal Services.

11 News has calls into Colorado Springs Emergency Management Office to see if there's a contingency plan in the works if these families are displaced. We'll let you know what we find out.




 
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