Foreclosure Wipes Out Mortgage Loan Condition That Property Owner Rent 152-Unit Building Exclusively To Low-Income, Elderly Tenants For 30-Year Period; New Landlord Begins Purge, Booting Long-Time Residents w/ View To Attract More Market-Rate Renters
- The owner of the Bryden House apartmentson Columbus' Near East Side is ending the leases of a number of elderly, low-income tenants, leaving many wondering why and struggling to find a place to live in the dead of winter.
The residents started receiving terse notices in December that they needed to be out by Jan. 31. There was no explanation.
“I was shocked,” said Gregory Pritchard, 59, who has spinal problems and has lived there five years. He fears that if he can’t find somewhere else to live by the end of the month, he’ll be forced to go to a shelter.
The short notice concerns Ben Horne, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. He believes that though the move is legal, the owner didn’t allow enough time to find new housing.
He’d like management to give residents, many of whom are elderly or disabled, more time to locate an apartment. “Finding a new place would be very difficult,” said Horne, who met this week with several tenants at the apartment building at 1555 Bryden Road.
The terminations are disturbing, said Terri O’Connor, a supervisor at the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging. It’s disheartening that the residents were given the bad news in a simple, two-sentence letter just a week before Christmas, O’Connor said. “Merry Christmas, indeed,” she said.
Building management should have told residents, a majority of whom use Section 8 public-housing vouchers to pay their rent, why they were being kicked out, O’Connor said. Speculation among residents is that the building’s owner wants to attract more market-rate tenants.
Daniel Pessar, a spokesman for the company managing the complex, said in an email: "Our purpose at Bryden House is to enrich the quality of life of our tenants. We have no plans to raise rents."
According to Franklin County Municipal Court records, owner Bryden Management LLC filed evictions against close to 60 tenants in 2015.
Bryden Management LLC, of Hackensack, N.J., bought Bryden House in February 2014 for $1.2 million. The previous owner, Tritex Bryden House LLC, purchased the building at a sheriff’s sale for $1 million on Nov. 27, 2012.
In 1994, the original owner agreed to a requirement that the units be exclusively for low-income residents for 30 years. The 152-unit complex is primarily for residents 55 and older.
But in January 2014, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency agreed to release the owner from those restrictions after Nov. 27, 2015, as long as the owner didn’t raise rents on tenants or evict tenants without good cause before that date.
Horne said the 2012 foreclosure allowed the owner to wipe out the covenant’s restrictions eight years before they were set to expire.
For a follow-up story, see Bryden House tenants move out as eviction deadline arrives.