All 15 tenants in three buildings on the 2300 block of Allied Drive are facing eviction this month. The tenants received notices last week informing them that their month-to-month leases would not be renewed beyond Dec. 31.
"This was a blanket eviction for everybody," says Barry Hayes, a member of the Allied Drive neighborhood association. "It's unfair."
Hayes notes that at least one tenant has lived there for 15 years, while other tenants are single mothers, elderly, or disabled. All will have to scramble to find housing during the holiday season, he says. "All of a sudden, this was just dropped on them."
But Jeff Meyer of Meyer Realty and Management, who runs the buildings for the New York-based owner, says there was no choice. The buildings have had a high number of police calls during the past year and Meyer says police told him that "all but a few of the people in there were causing the problems in the buildings."
Things have gotten so bad that the city of Madison has been threatening to file a nuisance abatement complaint. If that happens, the building's owner could lose control of the properties.
Meyer says some tenants were offered the chance to keep their apartments, if they re-applied by Dec. 5 and passed a screening process. But so far, he says, he hasn't received many responses.
The buildings will be extensively remodeled and treated for a persistent roach infestation. "We're trying to do what's best for the neighborhood," says Meyer, noting that some of the tenants could find housing nearby. "If they have decent references, they could find better housing than what they have now."
Hayes says the tenants could apply to live in the apartments once they're remodeled, but notes the units will be offered at rents higher than what the residents are paying now. Many of them won't be able to afford it, he says. He thinks that's a shame: "They're good people and we don't want them to leave the neighborhood."
The neighborhood association is holding a "Know Your Rights" meeting for tenants on Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at 2349 Allied Dr.