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Two former residents of Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments in Tulsa have filed a class action lawsuit against the housing complex, according to court documents. As of last week, each and every Vista Shadow Mountain resident was forced to move out of the apartment buildings due to unsafe living conditions, per the Tulsa Fire Department. 

The Vista Shadow Mountain Apartment complex faced multiple fire code violations, as well as building maintenance code violations. The Tulsa fire department recently labeled the apartment buildings “imminently dangerous” for residents, and asked the complex to ensure all residents were out of their homes by last Friday, July 23rd.  

In addition to the multiple housing code violations, Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments had not previously paid many of its utility bills, leaving residents facing the threat of water shut-offs. The $108,000 past-due water bill to the city was only recently covered.

Residents forced to move

Meanwhile, residents of Vista Shadow Mountain were shocked when they received notice of eviction earlier this summer, after being kept in the dark about the apartment complex’s myriad of problems. In July, Tulsa city officials ordered all residents to leave their homes due to the danger posed by the buildings.

The lawsuit states, “The greedy, unethical landlord at Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments must be held accountable for the flagrant and illegal mistreatment of its tenants, some of whom are among Tulsa’s most vulnerable citizens.” The lawsuit continues that residents were taken advantage of while Vista Shadow Mountain apartment complex avoided paying its utility bills, did not engage in requested home maintenance, and thus created unsafe and unsanitary living conditions for residents. 

Tulsa District 7 City Council Lori Decter Wright was instrumental in the efforts to support residents as they were forced to flee their homes. Nobody should live like that,” said Decter-Wright. “Our seniors and our families with disabilities deserve quality safe housing.”

The lawsuit insists that Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments violated several state laws, including breach of contract, negligence, failure to abide by the laws governing landlords and tenants, as well as violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiffs are seeking at least $75,000 in compensatory damages, as well as other damages, and have requested a trial by jury. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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