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Boise Apartment Tenants, Including Refugees, Evicted for High-Priced Renovations

Plumbing Tools Arranged On House Plans

The residents of a Boise, ID, apartment complex may soon be homeless.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Glenbrook Apartments has been purchased by Cassia Crossing, a company out of California, as an investment on July 24. The property will be renovated to turn the low-rent apartments into more high-end property.

As a result, the 100 or so families who live in the 112-unit complex were handed eviction notices just last week, telling them to be out within the next month. Many of these families and individuals are refugees from other countries; some residents also receive housing subsidies or have disabilities.

Local company Verity Property Management will manage the apartment complex after the sale. Although they are willing to work with families to let them stay until they find new homes, they will not be extending leases.

In Ada County, the average one-bedroom apartment rented for $631 per month during the first quarter of 2015, and two-bedroom units averaged $721 during that same period, according to the Southwest Idaho Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.

Residents at Glenbrook Apartments have been paying $575 per month for one-bedroom apartments or $650 per month for two-bedroom apartments — less than the local average.

Lynn Fender, vice president of Verity Property Management, said that the renovated units will eventually rent for between $900 and $1,000.

Fender said that around 80% of tenants have month-to-month leases, which will not be renewed after October 1. Some residents may be allowed to stay if they need a few extra days before they move into their new homes.

Tenants with multi-month leases will be allowed to stay until they expire, but the leases will not be renewed.

Once tenants have been cleared from the property, the renovation process will begin.

Glenbrook residents and local advocates, however, are outraged. Some are currently exploring the legal issues surrounding the evictions, but so far, there isn’t much that can stop the new owners from evicting tenants.

At the end of 2014, just 37% of renters in the U.S. had renters insurance. However, these policies — even if Glenbrook tenants do have them — won’t do much to stop eviction, either.

The Intermountain Fair Housing Council, a nonprofit advocacy group in Boise, reported a record number of calls from tenants and others who expressed concern about residents.

Because of the number of refugees in the apartment complex, there is also concern about displacing these families once again.

“People who we work with very closely have already gone through flight, war, disaster, devastation, have been displaced,” Julianne Donnelly Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Boise. She told KTVB in Boise that those tenants “have, with a lot of strength, ingenuity and resilience, made whole new lives. And they’re being expected to do it all over again.”

Local churches and advocacy agencies, like I.R.C., are working to help tenants find new homes. But they have 400 people who will need to move within the next three weeks, and there are concerns that there may not be enough housing for them in the area.

As for Verity Property Management and Cassia Crossing, this is simply a business matter.

“We will work with people as much as we can,” Fender told the Idaho Statesman. “But this was an investment purchase for our owner. The thought process from the beginning was to renovate property and place property at higher rental value.”

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