Stop Putting Your Tenants on the Streets!
This petition had 295 supporters
COVENANT CAPITAL GROUP has given tenants at Prestige Pointe and Premier West Apartments notices of non-renewal on their leases with no explanation and no offer to remain. Covenant executive Govan White has stated that they are in the business of building "quality, affordable housing for Nashville families". In actuality, Covenant is kicking out current tenants, renovating, raising rents and ending the apartment's participation in the Section 8 Voucher program. While some families have managed to find housing further outside of the city, many have nowhere to go.
This is shameful.
Tenants and community supporters are calling on Covenant Capital to do the right thing by allowing their current rent-paying tenants to remain and benefit from renovations instead of kicking them to the streets. We ask that Covenant Capital immediately apply these four requests at both Prestige Pointe and Premier West apartments:
1. Renovate WITHOUT displacing tenants
As we see at many other apartment complexes, renovations can be done without displacing tenants. This could be done through phased development, granting tenants temporary housing elsewhere or allowing tenants to stay in their units while renovations are made. Everyone wants their homes to be maintained, but this doesn't mean tenants have to be permanently kicked from their homes.
2. Maintain a minimum of 75% of units at (or below) 60% AMI
Covenant Capital has stated that their desire is to create quality, affordable housing for Nashville families. We appreciate this and want assurances that current tenant families can continue to afford the renovated units.
3. Continue to participate in the Section 8 Voucher Program
Many of Covenant's tenants have access to housing through Section 8 Vouchers. Nashville's Section 8 waiting list is through the roof and these tenants have nowhere to move in Nashville. If Covenant wants to support Nashville families, continuing to participate in the Section 8 Voucher program is a necessity.
4. Extend ALL leases to June 1st
While Prestige Pointe tenants pushed for and received lease extensions to June 1st, we want the same for Premier West tenants. Even for those tenants that do have future housing options, kicking them out with 60 days notice in the middle of the school year is completely unacceptable. Covenant Capital should immediately extend ALL tenant leases to June 1st.
Why is this important?
"I'm a grandmother raising two grandchildren and I don't have anywhere to go. I'm getting threatening letters saying my furnitures going to be set out if I'm not out by the 30th of this month. It's just wicked."
-Mary Hall, 13 year Premier West tenant
Prestige Pointe and Premier West Apartment were both recently purchased by Covenant Capital Group. In February, Prestige Pointe tenants received notices from the apartment management that they must vacate by March 31st or face eviction charges. Earlier this year, unbeknownst to many tenants, their leases were changed from standard 12-month terms to month-to-month terms. With just over a week left before this deadline and no respite from Covenant, tenants rallied together and demanded a meeting. Out of this meeting Prestige tenants received a 60 day lease extension. However, many of these families still have nowhere to go and haven't been given a reason why they have to move at all.
While this was happening, tenants at Premier West were being given notices to vacate as their lease terms expired. Again, no reason was given as to why they had to move. For all of the tenants, finding alternative housing on short notice is stressful and extremely difficult.
Many tenants have lived at these apartments for five, ten or even fifteen years. They come from many walks of life. They are hard working parents with kids in metro schools, caregivers to elderly parents, immigrants with strong community networks, folks struggling to get by on disability. Many tenants moved to these apartments because of their proximity to jobs, shopping, hospitals and schools. There are few if any affordable options for housing left anywhere close to the city. Those that remain are at least another ten to twenty miles away from the city. Many tenant do not have cars, which makes living further from work, shopping and schools a significant barrier.
Covenant's request that they move with mere weeks’ notice is not simply a matter of inconvenience. For the many families unable to secure alternative housing, Covenant is quite literally kicking them to the curb.
This practice of displacement through "non-renewal" has become commonplace for Nashville developers but tenants are standing up.
WILL YOU STAND WITH THEM?
Tennessean article on Prestige Pointe: http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/real-estate/2017/03/28/families-facing-forced-exit-nashville-complex-get-60-day-reprieve/99690366/
Channel 5 coverage of Prestige Pointe: http://www.newschannel5.com/news/nashville-tenants-forced-out-by-new-management
Channel 5 coverage of Prestige/Premier: http://www.newschannel5.com/news/developer-forces-tenants-out-of-premier-west-complex
Fox 17 coverage of Premier West: http://fox17.com/news/local/metro-schools-aims-to-help-more-than-50-students-facing-eviction
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