Burien apartment tenants upset about evictions, may speak at Council tonight


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Tenants of the Fox Cove Apartments – located at 149 SW 160th Street in Burien – are upset about recent eviction notices, which gives several an Oct. 31 deadline to vacate their homes.

All residents got a letter earlier this month saying the property ownership had changed hands to SUHRCO Residential Properties in Bellevue, according to several Facebook posts and KIRO7.

Many residents get by on low incomes, and worry that the evictions – while not illegal – may push them into homelessness within weeks.

And several are complaining about bad conditions at their apartments, including lack of trash service, black mold, and even mushrooms growing on their ceilings.

Burien Councilmember Krystal Marx reportedly said:

“Even though all this is completely legal, it doesn’t make it right.”

Several residents, along with supporters, may speak at tonight’s Burien City Council meeting, which starts at City Hall at 7 p.m.

A GoFundMe page has also been created to help those in need, with a target goal of $140,000:

https://www.gofundme.com/6735880?member=852032 

Organizers said:

“We are asking for such a great amount because the average moving costs are between $3500-$4300. Moving costs meaning first and last months rent plus deposit. Fox Cove Apartments was the last low income apartments here in Burien. Moving truck rentals, boxes, application fees, and taking time off work all cost money that most of us don’t have. We figured that $4,000 would be an acceptable amount for all us to be able to afford to move in such short notice.”

On Sunday (Sept. 30), Burien City Manager Brian Wilson and Marx attended a residents’ meeting “to hear their concerns and let them know that they aren’t alone.”

“From what we understand, their notices to vacate are legal,” Marx said. “However, while we were there, we discovered some truly depressing things:

  • Trash service has been discontinued for the last four days
  • Some haven’t had a stove that worked in over a year
  • Some have had black mold for over two years, one of which is a disabled woman on oxygen
  • Some report mushrooms growing on their ceiling

“The previous owners did not seem to value the tenants, and the new owners want to remodel/renovate each of the 36 units – six at a time. Many who live here have young children that go to school at Gregory Heights and Sylvester, have lived in the complex for many years, and are low-income or disabled… and it appears the new owners will be displacing them in order to renovate and increase rents by $1,100 (as reported by a tenant).”

KIRO says it reached out to property management, but did not hear back Saturday night.

Here’s the post that started it all, which was published on Facebook Friday night:

Here’s more info courtesy Councilmember Krystal Marx, who is asking her constituents to ‘Stand with Burien families facing displacement’:

Years of black mold, leaking roofs, no stove, no refrigerator… and now, a notice to vacate.

The tenants at Fox Cove Apartments (149 SW 160th St.) in Burien were notified of new ownerhip. Days later, the notices to vacate arrived.

On Friday evening, a Fox Cove tenant posted to the “We Recommend Burien” page on Facebook:

After the tenants reached out on Facebook, they reached out to the media, tenants unions, and whoever would listen. I alerted the rest of the Council, our City Manager, Human Services Manager and City Attorney, and let the tenants know we heard them and would meet with them to discuss possible next steps.

Here’s KIRO’s story:

Tonight, City Manager Wilson and I attended their meeting to hear their concerns and let them know that they aren’t alone. From what we understand, their notices to vacate are legal. However, while we were there, we discovered some truly depressing things:

  • Trash service has been discontinued for the last four days
  • Some haven’t had a stove that worked in over a year
  • Some have had black mold for over two years, one of which is a disabled woman on oxygen
  • Some report mushrooms growing on their ceiling

The previous owners did not seem to value the tenants, and the new owners want to remodel/renovate each of the 36 units – six at a time. Many who live here have young children that go to school at Gregory Heights and Sylvester, have lived in the complex for many years, and are low-income or disabled… and it appears the new owners will be displacing them in order to renovate and increase rents by $1,100 (as reported by a tenant).

Here’s How You Can Help

The tenants have been encouraged to speak to the Burien City Council at tomorrow evening’s Council meeting.

Please plan to also attend and speak in support of them, arriving by 6:30PM to sign up to speak.

It takes A LOT of courage to speak up and let the community know something is wrong – help me show them they did the right thing, and that the community is behind them.

Something as simple as “Hi, my name is _____, and I am a community member in support of the Fox Cove residents and want the City to support them” would be incredibly powerful.

City Manager Wilson is going to be reaching out to the new owners to see what can be done to mitigate the potential displacement, and I have reached out to Tacoma City Councilmember Keith Blocker regarding the actions they took when residents of the Tiki Apartments in Tacoma were faced with an eerily similar future. I will be prepared to make a motion to direct the City Manager to take emergency action, if needed.

Thank you for supporting ALL members of our amazing community, and for standing in solidarity with those whose very basic right to shelter is threatened.

By speaking in support of these families, you are showing that Burien is ready to adopt housing policies that protect rather than penalize. I hope to see you tomorrow night. 

Krystal 

The Fox Cove Apartment building is located at 149 SW 160th Street:

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