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For Immediate Release: ArchCity Defenders Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Fountain Apartment Homes, LLC, for Unlawfully Bulk-Filing Evictions

St. Louis, Mo. – June 14, 2023

ArchCity Defenders has filed a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Fountains Apartment Homes (FAH) LLC, the most recent owners of Fountains at Carondelet, the dilapidated property formerly known as Southwest Crossing. The suit alleges the company has failed to comply with Missouri law, which requires purchasers of residential rental property to provide notice to the tenants of new ownership. Since FAH acquired the large apartment complex in February 2023, not only have they failed to provide notice, but they have also filed 44 rent and possession eviction cases against tenants, resulting in 36 eviction judgments. In recent months, tenants like LaQuita Thomas, the lead plaintiff in this case, and an estimated 200 residents have lived in fear of being unlawfully displaced from their homes.

Since 2020, tenants of this large, multi-family unit complex in South St. Louis City have dealt with conditions issues (i.e. black mold, inadequate heat and air conditioning, and maintenance issues) due to poor property management enlisted by a succession of out-of-state, corporate owners. Each of these transitions in ownership has also been plagued by miscommunication that has left tenants, including Ms. Thomas, and the members of the proposed class, uncertain as to when and where to pay rent and how to request responsive maintenance for their homes.

“It’s stressful to live in an environment where, if something’s not working, you can’t call anyone,” said Ms. Thomas, the lead plaintiff and ArchCity client. “When you did try to contact management or maintenance, you got the runaround. No one should have to live in those conditions. I’m working every day to make sure that me and my son have a place to live, and I pay my rent. To not be able to call the number that they provide for you to get service is just ridiculous.”

In March 2023, this widespread confusion over ownership of the property repeated itself yet again. On February 23, 2023, Fountains Apartment Homes, LLC acquired the property through the execution of a Special Warranty Deed and failed to communicate to any of the tenants that they had purchased the Fountains at Carondelet. Since May 2023, there have been no FAH employees physically present in the leasing office with whom Ms. Thomas and other tenants can discuss issues they are having. At the end of May 2023, the front door to the management office was boarded up such that no tenants could physically access the office.

“At ArchCity, we continue to see a disruptive trend throughout the St. Louis region as property ownership of rental housing changes hands from one owner to a new owner,” said Lee Camp, Managing Attorney, Housing & Civil Advocacy. “These new owners, often out-of-state, corporate investors, have adopted an eviction-first approach in taking over these properties. The goals of this litigation are simple – to give the tenants a voice through this ongoing transition at the property and to ensure their legal rights are respected by those coming into our community with the singular goal of making money.”

The suit asks the court to determine whether Fountains has the right to collect rent since it acquired the property, and the right to file evictions against tenants without properly complying with Missouri law. Through the TRO, Ms. Thomas and the residents at the property will ask the court to immediately halt Fountains’ continuing practice of unlawfully seeking eviction against them.


Media Contacts:

Z Gorley, Communications Director, ArchCity Defenders
(314) 898-8185

Angelo Vidal, Communications Fellow, ArchCity Defenders