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'Failure to provide safe and healthy housing': Tenants sue the Cambridge Square Apartments

Suit seeks damages for, "breach of the families' leases, failure to provide safe and healthy housing, and unlawful attempts to cancel the tenants' lease agreements."

BOISE, Idaho — A story KTVB reported on in March, 2023, has taken a new turn. Tenants of the Cambridge Square Apartments had their leases terminated by Commercial Northwest Property Management, they were given just days to vacate. Now twenty members of the families and tenants that were evicted are suing the landlords. 

 "Commercial Northwest Property Management's failure to provide adequate housing to people and their attempt to illegally kick them out is a deplorable demonstration of landlord greed. The families involved in this litigation coming together to ensure that Commercial Northwest Property Management is held to account for its failure to provide safe, habitable housing is a powerful demonstration of the efficacy of collective tenant organizing. I think anyone in Boise can understand how scary it is to have their landlord decide to just take away their housing one day," Casey Parsons, lead attorney for the families with the Wrest Collective, said.

A press release from Wrest Collective, states that the, "community-funded sliding scale nonprofit law firm in Idaho," have filed a lawsuit, "challenging their mass eviction and their landlords' failure to maintain heat in the building as required by Idaho law. The lawsuit, filed on April 19, 2023, seeks damages and other relief for Commercial Northwest Property Management's breach of the families' leases, failure to provide safe and healthy housing, and unlawful attempts to cancel the tenants' lease agreements."

The suit furthers that at one point the company told tenant to vacate in just three days. It also states that Natalie Lemas Hernandez, the Chief Executive Officer released a video that no one was evicted and, "no tenant was required to leave prior to having suitable housing arranged."

"The affected tenants were left completely uncertain with respect to the stability of their housing, what efforts Commercial Northwest Property Management would take to provide them with adequate housing, or what would happen next," the release stated. "While many of the tenants were able to secure alternative housing in the following weeks, a number of them continue to reside at Cambridge, having received little to no assistance to cover the expenses of finding adequate, alternative, comparable housing."

Commercial Northwest Property Management had not responded to questions at the time of publication.

The release also had testimony from some of the tenants involved in the lawsuit.  

Ashley Brown, one of the tenants affected by the situation, said: "Myself and my children have been living separately going through all this. As a single mom I've had several mental breaks dealing with getting all of our stuff out alone. I spent substantially all of my savings and tax returns to be able to keep us under safe roofs till we were able to get into the new place. I'm mentally and physically drained and out of money."

Joshua Joy, another tenant affected by the situation, said: "My anxiety has been through the roof. Sleeping has been extremely hard, and when I do sleep, I wake up drenched in sweat. The constant harassment from Management has made this experience a nightmare. They feel no shame or remorse for illegally evicting us. And that has been made evident by still charging rent to our accounts."

Chris Kingston, another tenant affected by the situation, said: "Between being forced to find alternate arrangements with no money, to the inconsistent & dishonest communication from CNW, this entire experience has been traumatic, to say the least. What CNW has forced tenants to endure is unethical, & negatively contributes to Boise's growing housing insecurity."

Shawna Olson: "I have never been treated like I didn't have rights and they didn't matter. This has been the most stressful, anxiety-inducing experience of my life. I'm still not sleeping even now after I moved. My expenses keep going up. I worry about the people still there that can't afford to move, that still don't have heat. Property owners should not be allowed to do this."

Jonathan Burns, another tenant affected by the situation, said: "This entire process has been incredibly draining. It's been the worst moving experience of my life. We had money set aside for our wedding later this year that we had to use, and while we were lucky finding a new place, it has been extremely stressful," the release states.


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