Renters fight back against notorious Colorado Springs landlords

Pine Creek Village apartments
Pine Creek Village apartments / Kody Fisher -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — We continue to follow the poor living conditions that people say they are dealing with at the Pine Creek Village apartments.

For some, it’s turning into a legal fight with landlords Terry and Todd Ragan.

So far, there were 107 code violations calls in 2016 – that’s how many times the landlords for the complex knew something was wrong with their buildings.

One man is trying to prove they knowingly put his family into an apartment that had mold in the walls.

Christian Buffington, his wife, and two kids moved into the apartment complex in September.

Barely three months later, Christian and his family left because he said nothing was ever done to fix a mold problem in the wall.

The Buffington family is currently homeless and relying on the hospitality of friends for a place to stay.

“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” said Buffington.

They’re currently being sued by the landlords for not paying rent.

“We didn’t think the apartment was worth being paid for. It was uninhabitable from the get go,” said Buffington.

They chose the alternative of the unknown of trying to find a place to sleep every night.

“We had a home and we had a roof and then it all just got taken from us, because of the hazardous living conditions and it’s very much an emotional roller coaster,” said Buffington.

The landlords appear to be exploiting loopholes in city code enforcement by doing just enough to avoid litigation from the city.

In the meantime, people are living in disgusting conditions.

State Representative Tony Exum, who oversees this district, said there aren’t a lot of state statutes to help and that it would need to be a city council matter.

City councilwoman Helen Collins declined to interview, citing that it’s a civil matter between landlord and tenant.

Yolanda Avila, who is running against Collins for the District 4 seat on city council, said something needs to change.

“It’s something we’d really have to work on and close those loopholes. Make sure that those codes are much stronger to protect tenants,” said Avila.

Christian is one of few people suing the Ragans.

“The biggest thing that the people fear is that they have no options, they have nothing they can do to stand up against these people and I think that’s why they’ve gotten away with it as long as they have,” said Buffington.

FOX21’s Kody Fisher tried to get answers from the landlords about what’s going on, but they were unavailable for comment.

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