LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Across the street from The Veridian Apartments, organizations stood behind tenants of The Veridian who were speaking out for their first time, since the flooding issues back in December.

The organizations that gathered Wednesday included Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Central KY Chapter, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, KY Tenants, and Lexington-Fayette NAACP.

The coalition of organizations planned to meet one day before Lexington’s first Urban County Council Meeting on Thursday, where they will urge the city to pass a tenant` bill of rights.

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A tenant at the Veridian named Heather shared the response she got from property management when she brought her unlivable conditions to their attention, right before rent was due for January.

“The woman responded with, and I quote: “I don’t care, I honestly don’t care about your experience, you chose to live here you chose to sign that lease, it’s not my problem. End quote,” Heather said. “If you ask me, farm animals have received far better treatment that we have. What happened from Dec. 24 — 31 has caused myself a lot of fear; Fear of retaliation, fear of inaccurate rental history when I attempt to secure other housing.”

Heather said she paid the full price of her rent but is hoping to be reimbursed for that week she lived without running water and damages in her apartments. Other tenants of the Veridian, like Michael Richardson, paid their full rent but has just received a ‘Notice To Vacate’ from the Veridian’s attorney.

Richardson says he has two weeks to move out and has not been offered an apology or assistance with moving costs or relocation options.

Clay Fergerson, who FOX 56 News spoke to in its last report, said he didn’t pay rent on the first. Instead, he waited until Jan. 5 and prorated himself based on his lease agreement.

“I took 6 days’ worth of rent from my January rent as a prorate from December… ultimately on the 13th, they accepted my January rent minus 6 days as concession for what happened in December,” Fergerson said.

Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley, with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, said that in cases like The Veridian, tenants deserve to have lawyers and it is a right that is coming soon.

“A right to council project is imminently on the horizon,” Kingsley said. “And Lexington has the capacity and the funding to put toward this project right now. We have the opportunity with the $15.7 million dollars that was awarded, to the City of Lexington, to build a program that will utilize the unprecedented federal funding that’s available and build a model that council can fund as a permanent budget item moving forward, once we demonstrate that its successful in saving money successful in creating housing stability, because the less people are moving from place to place the more affordable housing remains available on the market, and the less money folks are paying out for rental units that are not safe, they can pay for health care, food, medicine, and increase the stability and health of their families.

Matthew Williams, vice president of the NAACP Lexington-Fayette Chapter said, “The more we can take our power back that’s what the tenant’s bill of rights is going to start to do, give the power back to the people and I say all power to the people.”

Ahead of Lexington’s first Urban County Council Meeting on Thursday, the Kentucky tenant’s coalition is urging Lexington to pass a tenant` bill of rights.

The Lexington tenant’s bill of rights addresses inflation, eviction prevention, discrimination, a
tenant’s right to affordable attorneys, and a call for a landlord registry and a seat for tenants on city boards.

The Veridian’s management declined FOX 56 News requests for comment and banned media from the property.

To sign the petition for Lexington’s Bill of Rights, click here.