KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After months of concerns about property conditions, tenants at Stonegate Meadows Apartments have teamed up with a legal group to demand immediate action from property owners and management.

The Heartland Center for Jobs & Freedom is a nonprofit law office that enforces tenants’ and workers’ rights.

“We have been living with infestations, leaks, mold, ceiling collapses—all kinds of issues,” said Helana Wyatt, who has lived at the property for over fifteen years, according to a press release. “Stonegate wants us to uphold our end of the bargain and pay rent on time every month. But they are not upholding their end of the bargain at all in a timely manner.”

After FOX4 Problem Solvers received complaints from tenants regarding broken fire alarms following a fire in April that left 15 people hospitalized, Kansas City Councilman Brandon Ellington visited Stonegate Meadows to encourage the leasing office to step up.

He brought a fire department along to inspect common areas in the building.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II sent a letter to the property owner on Monday demanding action be taken to resolve tenant complaints.

“The information I am receiving from the public and from local inspection data is unacceptable,” Cleaver said in his letter.

“Less than one year ago, a fire at your complex led to the hospitalization of 15 individuals. I was shocked to read new allegations in local media about a lack of functioning fire detectors at the property. No Missourian deserves to live in unsafe or substandard housing, and it appears Stonegate Meadows has fallen far short of its obligations.”

Now, the Heartland Center has also sent the complex a letter, requesting property managers and owners meet with tenants to address a laundry list of issues, such as roach and bug treatment and prevention, structural repairs, mold, and the maintenance process, among other concerns.

“Stonegate tenants have consistently notified property management and ownership of the issues in their homes to no avail,” the letter states. “With conditions deteriorating further each passing year, they are now banding together to fight collectively for property-wide changes.”

The effort is part of the Heartland Center’s Safe Homes for All program, according to Gina Chiala, executive director and attorney at Heartland Center.

“Two thirds of low-income tenants live in unsafe and unsanitary housing yet no one is enforcing those tenants’ rights,” Chiala said in the release. “We aim to change that. It can no longer be the norm that poor people and low-wage workers live in bad housing.” 

Problem Solvers will keep you updated as we learn more.