NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Deciding to move is one of the more costly, stressful decisions a family can make. But a Norman mother says she’s between a rock and a hard place, being told to leave her home less than four months after moving in.
Chelsye Bacon has a lot on her plate. For starters, she’s a college student, a single mother of four and was nine-months pregnant when meeting with KFOR.
“This is a boy,” she said, describing her growing family. “He’ll be here any time now.”
Chelsye’s family moved into a Norman townhome in late January.
Now, just months later, she says she’s being forced to move again.
Her story starts just a week after moving in, when her washer flooded.
“So it was backed up, and my dining room and kitchen flooded, so I wasn’t allowed to use my washer,” Chelsye explained. “Then the following day, took a bath and my kitchen started leaking.”
From a drip in the kitchen, to flooding toilets and washer, Chelsye complained a handful of times to management.
According to her online portal, it appears maintenance was responsive in hiring plumbers to try and find a fix. But problems persisted.
The company, Red Door Management, noted in a March phone call that Chelsye complained her ceiling was still leaking and that plumbing hadn’t properly worked since she moved in.
While visiting the home, News 4 found a hole in the kitchen ceiling from prior maintenance work, and a can to catch dripping water ready on Chelsye’s stove.
Some packaged food items had also been moved to the living room to keep dry.
In the midst of these issues, Chelsye was served with a lease violation from management for “failure to maintain her dwelling in a healthy manner” in late March.
With four kids at home, nine months into a high-risk pregnancy, Chelsye claims most cleanliness or clutter issues were partially a result of the plumbing.
“Like half my snacks and just everything that is in the way of the leak is in my living room,” she said.
The situation came to a head in mid-April. Chelsye reported her downstairs toilet had flooded again.
She received a letter in the mail three days later.
“I got a vacate notice that I had to move out,” she said.
Red Door Management claimed in the letter the “current plumbing issues require the property to be vacant.”
They also said they didn’t know the extent of the issues prior to Chelsye’s move in, and wrote that the family must be out of the home by May 31 or risk losing their deposit.
“I was devastated,” said Chelsye. “Because I physically cannot move.”
In Your Corner stopped by Red Door Management and spoke with the person in charge on the phone.
“[Chelsye] failed to clean up her home, and has been there in a very short period of time,” they said. “That is the reason we gave her the notice to vacate.”
News 4 pointed out the notice sent to Chelsye cited plumbing issues, and had no mention of a messy home. The person on the phone said they would need to “talk to the manager.”
Chelsye pays for the home with the help of Section 8. In a follow-up email after the phone call, Red Door claimed the vacate order cited plumbing as opposed to home maintenance to better protect Chelsye’s federal subsidy moving forward.
The true cause of the order, they said, resulted from the March lease violation. They say the issue wasn’t fixed by a follow-up inspection days later.
“She failed to clean up her home and has been there in very short period of time,” said the Red Door representative on the phone. “That is the reason we gave her the notice to vacate.”
But clean is in the eye of the beholder. Chelsye provided KFOR with a number of photos she says were taken shortly after the follow-up inspection.
These line up with what News 4 found. While cluttered, we wouldn’t describe it as dirty.
We shared as much on the phone.
“For somebody who’s lived there less than eight weeks, and has had to deal with water leaking from the kitchen to the point where they have to keep some of their food in their living room,” In Your Corner reporter Adam Snider said to Red Door. “With four children at home and a fifth on the way, it would look to me that she’s doing the best she can.”
In the post phone call email, Red Door claimed our story would force them to inform the Norman Housing Authority of Chelsye’s violations, which they said would “undoubtedly create an even greater hardship.”
News 4 left the decision up to Chelsye, who opted to share her story. She’s hoping for help and hopes to warn other of what happened.
She also doesn’t know what happens next.
“I don’t know because I don’t physically have the money to move,” Chelsye said.
Chelsye’s family has now grown, as she has given birth to a baby boy days after our interview!
News 4 spoke with the Norman Housing Authority briefly at the start of our investigation. We had hoped to discuss the condition of Chelsye’s property, but multiple follow-up requests were not returned.
Chelsye says she has been in contact with her case worker and is looking to figure out what happens next.