Apartment Responds In Metro Family's Belongings Fight

Monday, September 22nd 2014, 8:14 pm
By: News 9

This is a follow-up to a story about a metro family in a battle to get their late grandmother's belongings from a metro apartment complex.

The family said it was because of a rent payment and late fees as to why they couldn't get inside the apartment, but the complex said it goes deeper than that, and the family needs evidence their the rightful heirs before they get the keys.

"Roadblocks being put up just to get her belongings, and it's not fair," said granddaughter Mary Looney.

Looney said she never imagined it wouldn't be easy to get her deceased grandmother's belongings out of her apartment. She tried to, but said the locks were changed. Looney thought it was because of this month's rent not being paid, but her grandmother's apartment complex, Chapel Ridge of Tinker said in a statement:

"The matter of access to Mrs. Massingill's apartment is not one of rent owing on the premises. The matter is an estate issue. Advice from our Landlord/Tenant attorney is that we must have proper documentation of the rightful heirs to Mrs. Massingill's estate before relinquishing keys to the apartment."

Looney said they don't have the death certificate or a will.

"This is such a struggle for because I don't think she had any clue how hard it would be," she said.

9/21/2014 Related Story: OKC Family Fighting Apartment Management For Holding Items

Local attorney Irven Box said if the apartment gave the belongings to the family without the proper documentation, they could be held liable.

"They're going to need to file something in the district court and the probate court signifying that the person has died that they didn't have a will, and that there are certain heirs, and name, who the heirs are, and try to get the court to give some sort of heir appointed or a person or representative of state and take charge of that property, without that, they're not going to get that property back."

The complex's managing director Gail Duke also said the apartment will not be charging the estate rent for the current period, even though it could.

“If proper heirs are not established in a timely manner, then we will store Mrs. Massingill's possessions for a reasonable period of time in a rented storage unit until such time as heirs are named or appointed. Of course, we're very saddened by the death of Mrs. Massingill and want to do everything according to the law regarding her estate,” Duke said.