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Brighton homeowners surprised by developer selling dozens of lots for built-for-rent homes

Posted at 4:56 PM, Jan 17, 2020

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- Some homeowners in a Brighton community are worried their property values are about to plummet. Their developer has been quietly working on a controversial plan that involves dozens of rental homes being built right in the middle of their neighborhood.

Looking out his back window, Paul St. Clair is still recovering from the shock of what's going on just beyond his backyard.

"I’ve lived here almost three years," said St. Clair. "What do I see? I see trouble."

Homeowners in Brighton Crossings are just hearing that their developer, Brookfield Residential, recently sold 50 lots to a company that builds single-family houses just for renters.

"Those are going to be all rental houses, so 16 houses behind me," said St. Clair, pointing out his window. "It’s almost like an apartment complex, but they’re houses."

He and other neighbors, such as Timothy Damour, said rental blocks were not part of the neighborhood master plan, and no one met with neighbors or told them about it before the sale was made.

"That was not what we expected when we moved here," said Damour, who moved into his brand-new home two-and-a-half years ago. "It's different than a few homeowners deciding to rent their homes. This is a large block of rental units. I can't imagine this would enhance the community."

So Contact7 reached out to Brookfield Residential, which released a statement saying, in part, "Everything we do is to satisfy people’s need to live in the best places to call home." The developer promised: “These homes will be property-managed...by American Homes.”

American Homes 4 Rent did not respond to Contact7 requests for comment, but the company was the subject of a multi-part CBS 46 investigation in Atlanta, making headlines for soaring complaints over maintenance issues.

The BBB listed nearly 750 complaints in the last three years.

Last Spring, a spokeswoman for American Homes 4 Rent told our partners at the Denver Post that the company was looking at starting an all-rental community in Colorado, but couldn't get enough land.

On the Brighton Crossings Community Facebook page, neighbors are upset the land the company found is in their nearly-developed community, and they are worried about the impact on property values.

St. Clair wants to know why the City of Brighton didn't step in, and while he doesn't want to move his family, he is considering it now.

"I thought we were here for the long haul," he said. "We paid a lot of money for the house, and we didn't expect this at all."