Low income tenants being forced from decrepit apartments say they have no place to go
Owner: Tenants living rent-free
Last Updated: 72 days ago
AURORA, Colo. - Tenants living in a row of run down apartments at 11710 E. Colfax Avenue in Aurora say they’re being forced to move with very little time to find another place to live.
Karen Rowland told 7NEWS the family that owns the cinder block apartments, which date back to the 40s and 50s, hasn't been forthcoming with the reason tenants have been ordered to vacate.
“First he (Jeff Yoo) told us we had 7 days to leave because the city was shutting us down,” Rowland said. “Then we learned that wasn’t the case.”
Ron Moore, Division Manager of Neighborhood Support for the City of Aurora, told 7NEWS that the city isn’t forcing anyone out of their homes.
“We told the owner that he needs to the fix the property,” Moore said. “He’s apparently decided to shut it down.”
Late Wednesday, Yoo told 7NEWS that the manager he hired to help fix the place was injured in a car crash and couldn’t do the job.
“So, I started managing the property myself,” Yoo said. “After looking at the condition of all six units, I determined that it would be best to just start from scratch.”
Yoo said he gave the tenants two options. He said he could terminate their month-to-month leases with 30 days written notice and then use the court system for those who didn’t vacate the property, or he would let them off the hook with their March rent and return their security deposit, no questions asked, if they left before the end of the month.
Rowland said she contacted 7NEWS to learn what the law is in a case like this.
When asked if Aurora’s city code regulates how much notice property owners are required to give tenants to vacate, Moore said, “There’s nothing in the code. It’s a civil issue.”
Moore said the tenants should look at their contract.
McAllister said she signed a one-year lease in November, but the manager at the time wrote the wrong year for the end date, so she essentially has a month-to-month lease already.
The lease does state that the tenant or landlord can terminate the month-to-month lease with 30 days written notice.
“I’m scared,” McAllister said fighting back tears. “I’ve been calling places and tomorrow I have someone from assisted living coming over to interview me. I hope I can get in there.”
McAllister said she called the city Tuesday afternoon to tell them she had no heat.
Moore said his office helped find her a motel room until repairs can be made to the heater in her apartment.
Yoo said he told McAllister on Monday that the heating would be fixed, but that his contractor needed to order parts and that it could take two or three days.
Rowland said there are problems with her front door, back door and kitchen floor.
She said when it snows, she has to stuff a bath towel in the two-inch gap under the front door, to keep snow from blowing into the apartment.
“When we first moved in a year ago, the manager told us it needed some work,” Rowland said. “We paid our rent every month and we haven’t seen any progress.”
Yoo said he had to let the manager go because he wasn’t getting the work done.
On Wednesday, McAllister told 7NEWS that her interview with the assisted living center went well and she will likely be moving.
But Rowland and her husband haven’t been as fortunate finding another place.
"I don’t want to have to move to a shelter,” Rowland said. “We pay $400 a month rent. My husband is on oxygen. We have a special needs dog. Where else are we going to find a place to live?”
Rowland said the Yoo family owns several other properties in Aurora.
“We have faithfully paid our rent to them,” she said. “Why can’t they show some faith and let us stay at one of their other properties?”
7NEWS asked Yoo about the other properties. He said his family owns a motel next door but that it is full and there is no room for other tenants.
He also said that with the repair expenses he’s facing, he’d rather not have to spend money on an attorney.
He said if he has to spend money on legal proceedings to get the tenants to vacate the property, he’ll have to charge them for their March rent.
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