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Tenant rights

Granite City Renters Face Eviction Over Drug Overdose 911 Calls During Opioid Epidemic

Jan 29, 2020
On State Street in Granite City, there have been 11 crime-free housing violations for different tenants at the apartment complex over five years, from 2014 to 2018, more repeats than any other rental property. Eight of the violations requiring an eviction
File photo | Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

GRANITE CITY — A 27-year-old man called 911 to send an ambulance to his home when his girlfriend passed out.

He didn’t know what was wrong but told the dispatcher it could be an overdose.

About a month later, he received a letter saying the city wanted his landlord to evict him.

In Granite City, renters can be kicked out after calling for help for someone overdosing on drugs because of the city’s crime-free housing ordinance. Even if no one is arrested or charged with a crime, the drug use breaks Granite City’s rules for renters.

From 2014 to 2018, 25.6 percent of the people who Granite City said violated its crime-free housing rules were accused of offenses that didn't happen at the home of the renters facing eviction for it.
Derik Holtmann | Belleville News-Democrat

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

GRANITE CITY — An 83-year-old man was in the hospital with lung cancer when he learned he could be kicked out of his apartment.

It was early 2017, a few days after Laurence Madden’s 19-year-old grandson was arrested for disorderly conduct at Madden’s Granite City apartment. He received a letter from the police officer who enforces the crime-free housing policy, the city’s rules for renters.

The message said the apartment complex’s owner had to evict Madden over his grandson’s criminal charge or else the city could revoke the business license the owner needed to rent out apartments in the future.

From left, Sunni Hutton, Ryan Krull and Jesse Bogan joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Samuel Rodgers has been a tenant at TEH Realty’s Blue Fountain apartment complex in St. Louis’ Baden neighborhood for about 13 years. Early on, he had relatively few complaints about his living situation. But in recent years, maintenance of the property has plummeted dramatically.

“I’ve been about three or four years without heat in my apartment, so I have these space heaters to try to stay warm, my shower’s not working right,” Rodgers told St. Louis on the Air in a phone interview this week. “I need a whole new toilet — they still haven’t replaced that. My kitchen sink [is] jacked up; I have to take a bucket and get water from the tub to transfer the water from the tub into my kitchen sink to do my dishes.”

At another TEH complex in St. Louis, Southwest Crossing in Carondelet, the situation has deteriorated to the point that Mayor Lyda Krewson and mortgage loan corporation Freddie Mac last month each filed suit against TEH. Southwest Crossing residents began taking actions of their own, too.