The clock is ticking before a Southern Colorado apartment complex could be shut down and declared unlivable.
The utility bills for Pine Creek Village Apartments in Colorado Springs have been left unpaid and overdue for months.
The deadline is fast approaching for the outstanding balance to be paid.
Tenants tell us they've been giving their landlord the money to pay the bills the entire time, but Colorado Springs Utilities says they haven't seen any of that money.
The balance needs to be paid by May 9 or else the water, gas and electricity will be shut off.
According to city code, if there is no water in the apartments, they will be deemed unsuitable to live in--and the more than 300 residents will have to move.
When 11 News checked in with Springs Utilities on Tuesday, they said there had been no payments made.
Many residents say they are scared about what will happen leading up to the deadline, especially because their rent is due before that date.
"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 no where to go? Or do I hold onto it because last minute he pays it," Layla Chapman wondered. "We are sitting ducks right now."
Many residents were not comfortable speaking with 11 News on camera, but told us when they try to contact the owner or the front office they are only told that "it's being taken care of."
One resident told 11 News that she bumped into the owner, Terry Ragan, outside the apartments, but when she asked if she could talk to him, he said no.
--- PREVIOUS COVERAGE --
A troubled apartment complex has been at the end of 91 code enforcement cases in the last 15 months.
A spokesperson with the Colorado Springs Police Department tells 11 News that there have been 91 code enforcement cases at the Pine Creek Village Apartments from January 1, 2013 to April 9, 2014.
Pine Creek Village Apartments has made news once again as hundreds of families learned that all of their utilities will soon be disconnected. But the tenants at the apartment complex have reportedly paid their bills. It's their landlord who hasn't.
Layla Chapman woke up this morning to find a notice taped to her door. It’s from Colorado Springs Utilities. It says next month she will be without electricity, gas and running water. The utility bill is included in the rent and she says she’s paid in full.
“So where is my money going that I give them every single month that I work for?" Chapman questioned.
Chapman is one of more than 300 families living at the Pine Creek Village Apartments on the southeast side of Colorado Springs. Springs Utilities tell us the apartment complex has not paid the utility bills in full for a long time.
"It's not something that just happened overnight. This has been going on for months for them to get a disconnection notice like this,” Chapman said.
11 News went to the Pine Creek Apartment office to get answers.
Kristin Haubrich: “Springs Utilities told us the landlord is behind on the bills and soon all the utilities will be shut off for all of the tenants."
Secretary: "So, we aren't allowed to talk to you guys. You have to leave our office."
Kristin Haubrich: "What are the tenants supposed to do? "
When we didn't get answers there, we went looking for the owner. Terry Ragan lives in a $1.5 million home in the Broadmoor neighborhood. But there was no answer.
Tenants are just hoping someone one will give them an answer soon.
“I work very hard for what I have and I expect it to be working when I come home. I should have running water because I pay for it,” Chapman said.
If the apartment owner doesn't come to an agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities in the next 30 days, utilities at the apartment complex will be shut off. The building will then be condemned because it is unsuitable to live in and everyone will be forced to leave.
11 News will continue to follow this story and let you know what happens next.
Our 11 Call for Action team has found out that this apartment complex and nine others owned by Terry Ragan are all up for sale for a total of $87 million dollars.
Ragan was been at the center of another 11 investigation 14 years ago. He was part of our “Landlord Hall of Shame” for how he ran his properties as a landlord.
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