OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – More legal trouble for the Foxcroft Apartments in Northwest Oklahoma City. An attorney has put in a new court filing accusing the complex of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in rent against a judge’s order.
KFOR has been reporting since December 2021 on how tenants there went all winter without any heat at all due to a complex-wide heating failure. In January, An Oklahoma County district judge ruled that the complex could not accept rent until the heating was fixed.
On Monday, Bethany Law Center’s Ryan Owens, the attorney who’s representing some of the tenants, filed a supplement to a motion in court to hold Foxcroft in contempt for accepting rent from 19 tenants since the judge’s order — including some rent payments through Oklahoma Community Cares Partners on behalf of tenants.
“The Foxcroft ownership and their agents sought and accepted over $30,000 in federal covid relief funds from a nonprofit and did that to cover rent payments during a period of time when there was an order from the court that they were not allowed to accept rent payments from anyone that lived at Foxcroft apartments,” he said.
KFOR reached out to Foxcroft about the court filing, and a spokesperson responded, “This is untrue and without merit. Foxcroft received funds in various lump sums on behalf of tenants who applied for them; much of which was for past due rent the property had no prohibition from accepting. Other funds were returned to the CCP months ago. Still, most of the funds were never accepted or deposited in the first place.”
Meanwhile, some tenants in still heatless one-bedroom apartments are now being asked by the complex to move to other units with working heat, so Foxcroft can make repairs, but the tenants tell us they’ve only been offered two- or- three- bedroom units which are more expensive than what they pay now — calling it an offensive gesture after the frigid winter they had to endure.
“Moving me to a place that I can’t afford for their mistake, I don’t think it’s right,” tenant Janny Granados said.
“They just treat us like we’re garbage,” another tenant, Sandra Hickey, said. “It’s not right the way they’re doing everybody.”
Foxcroft also commented on the rent situation and gave an update on the heating repairs:
“Because cooler weather will be here before we know it and the east side of the property is the furthest from full restoration of central heat, we proactively offered those units as an alternative lease option on our campus where the renovations have already been completed and central heat has been fully restored.
To care for those impacted but this situation, tenants with an existing lease in this section of the complex have been offered the opportunity to transfer to a unit with fully functioning central heat where they will pay no rent for the duration of their existing lease. Tenants in the impacted section of our complex who do not currently have a rental lease in place have been invited to sign a new lease and move into a fully functioning unit on the property. These families will be given one month of free rent to mitigate cost of moving expenses and significant discounts to the lease rate thereafter. Failure to enter into a new lease will result in a notice to vacate before winter so no tenant will be at risk of being in a unit that has not been restored.
The property continues to undergo significant capital improvements, which we know is a welcomed sign to our Foxcroft family. The most significant projects currently underway are a property-wide gas line replacement, as well as individual unit HVAC replacements, both of which are required to restore the central heat to each unit.
Although 40% of the property is still without central heat, we are pleased to have more than 80 units, and we are optimistic that by the end of next week we will have more than 100 fully functioning units. That said, we already have enough units with central heat to accommodate all of our existing tenants impacted by these ongoing repairs.
This has been a challenging process for many reasons, including significant supply chain shortages, worker absences for health and other reasons, and delays in inspections and approvals. However, we are pleased to have made significant progress and remain committed to caring for all members of our Foxcroft community.
We remain committed to doing what we reasonably can to accommodate members of our Foxcroft family that would like to move to a central heat-restored unit as we continue to make significant progress on our complex improvements.” — Foxcroft Management
Owens said on Sept. 2, a status conference is taking place at the Oklahoma County courthouse for a gathering of the attorneys on both sides to update each other on what’s going on with the litigation.