Saturday, July 08, 2017

Another New Landlord With Renovation Plans Buys 112-Unit Affordable Housing Complex, Then Promptly Tells Low Income, Rent-Subsidized Residents To Pack Their Bags & Get Out

In Evansville, Indiana, Tristate Homepage reports:
  • Many residents and community leaders are concerned about the uncertain future for many tenants of an income-based affordable housing complex in Evansville. An out-of-state, private company purchased the mortgage of Lincoln Estates at sheriff's sale last year, according to property records. As a result of the ownership change, many of the 112 tenants are being forced out, including dozens of people on federally-subsidized Section 8 housing, multiple residents said.

    The units at Lincoln Estates serve people who are at or below 80% area media income. As many as 40 of the 112 units at the complex serve those who are on Section 8.

    In late April, resident said they received eviction letters from the property manager, leaving many of the cash-strapped tenants with just weeks to find a new place to live. Thirteen of the tenants were evicted because they were delinquent on their payments, according to the Evansville Housing Authority.

    The city has never had any ownership stake in the company nor is it involved in the complex's operations, city officials said.

    The complex was built as part of a tax credit program where investors would help cover the cost of construction. Among the investors were banks and the Evansville Housing Authority. Last year, once the 15-year compliance period ended, the Evansville Housing Authority offered to buy out the remainder on the mortgage but the bank refused and foreclosed on the property. The complex was later sold to the out-of-state private company at a sheriff's sale. Residents said they were being evicted so the new owners could renovate the property.

    The sale and subsequent evictions have left the financially-challenged residents of the complex even more hard-pressed to find a place to live.

    "It's kind of hard when you don't have [money] and you're forced to move. It causes issues,"
    said Yvette Fellows. "You've got to pay a new deposit, the move-in fee and rent a U-Haul. When you're on a low income, it's not cheap at all."
    Eyewitness News has spoken with several residents of Lincoln Estates, who tell us that they were given very little notice that they would have to move. This has created hardships as many of them are on fixed or low incomes.

    As many as 40 tenants of the total 112 units are on Section 8 housing, which complicates matters even further because of the challenges associated with Section 8 housing.