MIAMI – Residents in a Miami high rise are fighting to stay in their homes.
Those residents are saying their leases were terminated with little notice.
Many of those folks have called Hamilton on the Bay in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood home for decades.
“It is not acceptable for this multi-billion dollar corporation, or any other corporation for that matter, to come to South Florida to buy buildings with the sole intention of kicking out residents who’ve lived in the same home for decades,” said Hamilton on the Bay resident Greg Frank.
Local 10 learned the building was bought by Aimco last fall.
Renovations have been ongoing since Hurricane Irma.
Most of the residents, as recently as a few weeks ago, signed new, multi-month leases.
But last month, everyone in the building received notice that they have to be out by July 16.
The size and scope of further construction, according to the property managers, was just too extensive.
“I understand what they want to do,” said disabled Hamilton on the Bay resident Larry Schatz. “But, at our expense, it’s not right.”
On Tuesday, residents rallied against what the new owners are doing.
They believe, in this rental market and during a pandemic, they need more time and they want financial assistance for their moving expenses.
For folks who are disabled, unable, or unwilling to move, they want to be able to stay where they are.
An attorney representing some of the residents said those demands are reasonable.
“No one here is saying that a landlord can’t terminate leases, no one is saying a landlord can’t buy a building and change a building, but what’s happened here is based upon lies,” said attorney David Winker. “Each of these stories involves a bait and switch. In the law, we call it an unfair trade practice. They’re asked to sign something, they were given promises, the promises were false. They never intended to enter into it.”
Aimco says it has, “Reached out to each and every resident to provide assistance and help facilitate a smooth transition,” and that the company is “considering any and all hardships,” and “working with residents on a case-by-case basis.”
The full response can be read at the bottom of this story.
Local 10 has learned that Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s staffers have met with some of the residents.
The congresswoman also sent a letter to the property managers asking them to consider the residents’ requests.
FULL RESPONSE FROM AMICO TO LOCAL 10:
At Aimco, we are always focused on doing the best by our residents. As a 40-year-old building, Hamilton on the Bay has been in disrepair for many years and sustained significant hurricane damage in 2017. We had hoped to renovate the building ‘around’ the residents, but the ultimate condition of the building and the necessary repairs made that plan untenable. Specifically, the waste risers need to be replaced which requires us to empty the building.
We have offered several options to our residents to make the transition easier including:
- Opportunities to transfer to an available apartment in our nearby communities.
- Consideration of flexible moving times dependent upon individual situations.
- Putting residents in touch with brokers to help find new housing at our corporate rate.
- Offering moving expense discounts through our moving services vendor.
- First priority for qualified residents to move back into Hamilton on the Bay when construction is complete.
We have reached out to each and every resident to provide assistance and help facilitate a smooth transition. Ultimately, we are considering any and all hardships and will continue working with residents on a case-by-case basis to make various accommodations.