DENVER — First, tenants had to deal with major flooding. Then, some were required to sign non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements when they tried to end their lease amid major issues and repairs. Now, The Grand Apartments off of Chestnut Place in downtown Denver is serving all tenants a 30-day notice to vacate.
"I received this letter taped to the door saying that I have to be out by August 6," said Will Chronopolous.
He wasn't the only one concerned about the recent surprise.
"Everyone in the building is kind of freaking out," Jamie Reagan said.
The notice to quit letter read in part, "We understand the property-wide repair process has been frustrating and challenging for our residents. As we’ve previously communicated, we had hoped to conduct the necessary repairs in a floor-by-floor, top-down approach to provide everyone maximum time to relocate. However, due to circumstances outside of our control, we are now unfortunately in a position where we are serving all residents with a 30-day notice to vacate, regardless of your lease end date, floor level or tower association."
When Chronopolous asked apartment management about the notice via email, Anna Jensen, a senior operations manager with the apartments management group Greystar said, "Our property has not been condemned. However, we are having to vacate the building to complete needed repairs under the casualty clause of the lease agreement. Due to the severity of the repairs that fall under warrant of habitability, we are not able transfer residents to non-repaired units nor keep residents within the building for the repairs to take place."
City officials confirmed that the apartment has received several various permits to conduct repair work. However, the Denver Fire Department did not play a part in requiring the "forced vacancy," DFD spokesman Greg Pixley said Friday.
The Grand Apartments issued a statement to Denver7, saying in part, “We understand and empathize the inconvenience this has created for our residents. In January and in subsequent communications, The Grand notified residents they would need to move out before the end of their lease term in order to complete the repairs required. Over the past six months, we have been working with residents on providing relocation assistance before a 65-day notice was issued. However, due to remaining requirements to complete the work, we must give some residents a 30-day notice, which complies with the terms of the lease and applicable laws. We are fully refunding all deposits and fees.”
Chornopolous says residents were not told about the refunded deposits and fees until Contact Denver7 reaching out to the apartment Friday.
Speaking in general, tenant-landlord attorney Jacob Eppler said tenants aren't necessarily out of luck in this type of situation.
"If I was one of these tenants, I think I would push back on this and say, "Well, then I need to get an apartment, and this one was $2,000 a month, and the best one I can find is $2,400. That'll be $400 per month of damages. It's not my fault that your property fell apart,"" he said.
Attorney Bryan Kuhn pointed out that a notice to quit has no legal authority by itself. It is neither a court order nor an order from law enforcement. So if there is a genuine legal dispute as to whether the landlord has legal right to evict, one should go to court, according to Kuhn.
"The tenant can contest any removal or eviction under a casualty clause in court," Kuhn added. "The landlord has to present a fairly compelling case under a casualty clause to evict protesting tenants. For the landlord, you would want solid evidence that the disaster or bad event has made the property a threat to health or safety of tenants. If no one fights in court and everyone leaves quietly, then it is swept under the proverbial rug."
Reagan says she's consulted with a local attorney.
"To be honest, I don't know if I'm actually going to move within 30 days. It's a little bit too soon for me," she said.
Contact Denver7 asked The Grand Apartments to specifically detail the "circumstances" that prompted the 30 day notices, but did not receive an answer Friday.
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