INDIANAPOLIS — Some residents at a west side apartment complex are expressing their frustrations and concerns after being given a notice to vacate by management.
The letter read, in part, “Your lease or the applicable laws of the State of Indiana requires that you be given at least a 30-day advance notice to vacate. The notice of termination serves as notification of the landlord’s intention to terminate your lease.”
FOX59 heard from more than a dozen people over the weekend, saying that they were residents at The Oasis who had received this notice, terminating their month-to-month lease.
A spokesperson for the Ardizzone Group, who owns the property, shared a statement with FOX59 on Monday regarding the notices issued to residents. The statement read, in part:
“We purchased this property with the intention to make much-needed improvements, which was communicated to residents at the time we acquired the community, October 1st, 2021. When we took over management there was already a large number of residents on a month-to-month lease which means that either party can terminate the lease by providing a 30-day notice.Spokesperson, the Ardizzone Group
Several residents told FOX59 that management said they would be rehabbing units, and at the time it happened, residents would need to move out of those units. They were under the impression this would come later in the year and that they would possibly receive assistance to meet their housing needs and other options rather than being told to leave so abruptly.
“We knew it was coming and it came faster than it was supposed to, we’re in the middle of the pandemic, the dead of winter now,” said Amber Pegram, who has lived at the complex for nearly two years and received a letter.
“It really does feel like you’re doing something wrong. I paid my rent; I’ve paid my rent every time for the last almost two years,” said Pegram.
“I was in shock because we’ve been in contact with the office, the new management ever since they came in,” said resident Kimberly Griggs, who has lived there for almost three years in her current unit.
Griggs lives with her daughter and two granddaughters. She works full-time, and with childcare options being a challenge, her daughter works part-time so she can continue to care for her children.
“They came in and gave us all these high expectations and they just came in and pulled the rug out from underneath us,” Griggs added.
Pegram, who is 35 weeks pregnant, said she has been on bedrest for the last two months and lives in her unit with her 8-year-old son. She told FOX59 she was asked to pay a prorated amount through the 7th of February, when she was told she would need to vacate the premises before noon.
Pegram asked, “How much more money are you wanting to take from us that we need to be able to find another place to live?”
According to Indiana law, landlords are required to provide a written 30-day notice terminating a lease for a month-to-month tenant to move off of the property. Although some residents we spoke with said they are upset over the situation, they’re not necessarily questioning the legality of the situation, but rather, the humanity of it.
“It’s not enough time for anybody. It’s not enough time for a single mom, it’s not enough time for people who have underlying health conditions and are trying to avoid COVID,” said Pegram.
“If we had more time, if we had known it was going to be in February, I would have started saving in October for this move,” said Griggs. “We have nowhere to go. Nowhere to go.”
While residents argue they were blindsided by the notice that showed up unexpectedly on their doors last week, property management said it believes they gave ample heads up to residents that this would be occurring.
Although state law allows for the termination of a lease with a 30-day notice, residents impacted by the move said they wish the apartment took into consideration the difficulties that come with searching for an apartment on short notice.
“30 days in the best situation is a headache. Moving in general is a headache, but to have the stress of now I have to find a place to live,” said Griggs. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re in the middle of winter. It’s gotten frigid out.”
Both Griggs and Pegram are having difficulty finding a new apartment that meets their needs, is within an affordable price range, and is available in the time frame they would need to move.
They said they were also informed that with the renovations would come higher rates, but that they would likely be given the option if they wished, to stay, which is something they would have considered if they had the option.
“There’s not a whole lot of options that don’t cost a whole lot of money. You’ve got to come up with deposits,” said Pegram.
They hope the office and staff with the property will consider taking situations into consideration as they approach the date they’re being required to vacate. They worry with the way their searches are going that they could end up without a roof over their head if they can’t find somewhere to live.
“They should take each case individually,” said Griggs.
Pegram said, “It would be nice if you could provide us with some kind of time or some kind of housing. Especially for the people that can’t get housing in 30 days.”
Others also received notices, including Griggs’ brother, who lives in another building at the complex and is on a year lease. In his case, he was informed that his lease ends on the date of agreement, in March, and that it would terminate on that date. He will not be allowed to renew or convert to a month-to-month tenancy, according to the letter.
Resident DeShaun Colemon said this is his first apartment after graduating college. He signed a lease from July 2021 through 2022 and said his roommate received a call from office staff, informing them of the situation and upcoming renovations.
“I got a phone call, which I felt was illegal in general,” said Colemon. He asked, “it’s like the peak of winter and it’s a pandemic going on. What are people supposed to do?”
A text thread between staff at The Oasis and Colemon’s roommate shows staff offered them an incentive for moving out early.
“So your contract is with Hidden Oaks. We are willing to offer you an incentive for moving out early,” the text read.
The Ardizzone Group said it wants to clarify that it is not forcing tenants to vacate an existing lease agreement, and that they are simply offering incentives, including two months’ worth of rent, if they would like to terminate a lease agreement early.
We have no intentions of forcing someone to vacate that is in an existing lease agreement. We recently issued notices to approximately 20 residents on month-to-month leases. We have offered a list of other communities in the area so that residents can reach out with their needs. Additionally, our teams at other communities we manage are ready to assist. We are simply trying to make the improvements to this property, that we and the residents agree are much needed.Spokesperson, the Ardizzone Group