PROVO — Eviction notices distributed to residents at a Provo apartment complex are highlighting a growing problem in the community — having enough affordable housing for low-income residents.
Affordable housing tenants at Brigham Apartments, 334 W 200 North, say they are being forced out as the new building owners attempt to make improvements.
On April 10, 29 tenants of the 42 units at the complex were notified they had 30 days to move out unless they are willing to pay the increased rent of $800 a month from the $500 a month currently in place.
The apartment complex was recently purchased and the new owners want to improve the apartments and get the monthly rent more in line with market values.
For residents like Roland Keller, who has lived at Brigham Apartments for four and a half years, the extra $300 a month is simply out of their budget.
“I might temporarily be looking at moving to a cheap motel,” Koller said.
Like Koller, a majority of the tenants who live at the complex are on a fixed income from either government disability or social security. Not only can they not afford the increase, many are struggling to find affordable housing anywhere else in the area.
“They are contributing to homelessness by forcing us out,” said a Brigham tenant who didn’t want to be identified. “I don’t think they have taken into consideration displacing 29 people. We are all in competition for what is available.”
Deon Anderson with Ability 1st Utah, an organization that provides independent living assistance, said the waiting list for affordable housing in Provo is currently eight months.
“When you are getting $735 and there is a one-bedroom apartment for $1,000 that is a little bit out of your reach,” Anderson said.
Robert Strain, new co-owner of the apartment complex, said the building has been run down for years and needs to raise the rent to justify the investment on the improvements.
“This particular apartment complex isn’t going to be an eyesore,” Strain said. “Something that we can be proud of as owners and as the neighborhood coming together and saying this is a good place to live.”
The property manager told KSL the owner is returning deposits regardless and is forgiving overdue rent to help tenants be in a better financial position so they can find a new place to live.
Contributing: Yvette Cruz