Landlord evicts Eureka family displaced by tornado

EUREKA, Kan. Update Tuesday, July 10

The Werdann family says their Eureka landlord sent them an eviction letter after they talked to us about how he won't fix tornado damage at the home.

A lawyer for the landlord sent the family the eviction letter saying the couple defamed the landlord's reputation, putting false statements online and on television.

"It seems more like a revenge measure on his part because we’ve lived there over four years, always up on our rent," said Aubree Werdann.

Last week the Werdann family told KWCH their landlord wasn't fixing serious damage caused by two tornadoes at the home they rented

"Since the last time we spoke, we received a letter in the mail from our landlord’s attorney stating we need to vacate the premises," said Werdann. "The reasons they give are complaints over the grass, petty things that he says goes against our renter’s agreement."

The man who owns the home did not want to speak with us, and his attorney didn't want to comment.

The eviction letter accuses the family first of lying to the media, but it also cites an unkempt lawn, failure to pay utilities and turning on a broken AC unit as reasons they needed to leave.

The letter claims debris in the yard damaged a mower, and the landlord was never reimbursed for sending someone to mow the yard.

"He’s never said a word to us about it, about us owing him any money," said Werdann.

The family told KWCH last week, tornadoes left them with a collapsing porch, broken AC and a damaged roof.

They were forced to take cover in a bathtub during last month's tornado because a previous storm ruined the stairs to the basement.

The attorney said there's no reason to use the basement--that it's only for utility access.

The family now is looking another place to live but worry they'll be left to live on the streets.

"To be homeless is my biggest fear," said Werdann.

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July 3

A week after an EF-3 tornado heavily damaged or destroyed several homes in Eureka, one displaced family is left to stay in a hotel.

This isn't the first time the Werdann family's had to leave their home due to a tornado. They also had to find a place to stay after Eureka's last tornado in 2016 damaged their home.

This time, they don't have air conditioning, they can't get into their basement and their roof has missing shingles.

A bathtub in the Werdann's Eureka home became a safe place for Aubree Werdann and her daughter after last week's tornado. Aubree says she couldn't get to the basement because the 2016 tornado shifted the stairs.

"The basement stairs are collapsing, so if I were to go down there, we could be trapped forever," Aubree explains.

Aubree's husband, Eddie, says besides the shingles ripped from the roof, last Tuesday's tornado caused structural damage the land lord hasn't started to repair.

"These (tornadoes in 2016 and 2018) actually scared us just with the structure of the house," Eddie says. "(It) keeps dilapidating every time we get hit. Nothing gets fixed, so it's just kind of sad after awhile."

After last week's tornado, the state put a sign up saying the house is habitable. But it needs a lot of work. The Werdanns worry if its pillars aren't soon repaired, they'll collapse and take the whole front of the house down with them.

"If this falls, we have our living room that's going to go with this," Eddie says.

The home's landlord says he can't fix the family's home right away, but he is working on it and hopes to have it soon ready for the family to move back in.