By Maury Thompso
Landlords: Pay up or pack up: New management evicting tenants who aren't following rules
GLENS FALLS — The look of the buildings isn’t the only thing changing in the remaking of the Henry Hudson Town Houses complex into the new Village Green Apartments.
The new management has enforced strict rules intended to change the reputation of the complex as a troublesome neighborhood, in some cases evicting tenants who do not follow them.
"We’re really trying to promote a healthy, happy, affordable living environment. In order to do that, we have rules, and we expect people to follow the rules," said Sheila Malynowski, president of Preservation Management.
The management company is owned by the same principals as Evergreen Partners, a real estate company collaborating with Marathon Development Group to redevelop the townhouse complex between Hudson Avenue and Broad Street.
Since the company took over about a year ago, 20 individuals or families have been evicted from the 136-unit complex, according to the management.
Evictions have primarily been for nonpayment of rent or having unauthorized guests, or for disrupting the neighborhood.
"Our view is (that) our job is to ask people and help people abide by the lease," Malynowski said. "And if we feel that we’re not going to be successful, then we do go through the eviction process and let the court decide whether there is justification for a resident to be invited to leave the property."
HUD sets some rules
Lee Ann Clark, who no longer lives at the complex, said management issued an eviction notice after her son and a former girlfriend got into a fight in front of her townhouse.
Clark said the management erroneously claimed the son was living with her, which would have been a lease violation.
Clark said she fought the eviction in court, but ultimately decided to leave voluntarily because her lease was coming up for renewal.
Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations require tenants to register anyone who moves in with them, so rent subsidies are based on an accurate calculation of household income, Malynowski said.
Tenants may have guests visit for up to 14 days in a 12-month period, provided they notify management of any guests who stay for five days or longer.
When management determines a tenant has an unauthorized guest, it asks the tenant to register the guest or else prove the guest is not living there, Malynowski said.
"If they elect not to do that, then our policy is that we go forward with the eviction and let the court decide whether there is an unauthorized person living in the unit," she said.
Some tenants facing eviction say it appears the management is evicting people to save on moving expenses.
The management has been relocating tenants within the complex as old townhouse buildings are demolished in phases and new apartment buildings constructed.
The company expects to begin moving tenants into new apartments in late January.
It seems as if there’s a new round of evictions each time a building is about to be demolished, said Ken Havens, who received a notice last week the eviction process would begin in three days if he did not pay delinquent rent.
"We watched it happen all summer long," he said.
Malynowski said tenants have the wrong impression.
"I can understand how residents might think that is partly what’s going on. But that’s not what’s going on," she said.
Sometimes the management has misinformation, said Jack Maron, who faces eviction.
In one instance, his nephew, who does not live in the complex, got into a fight on the property.
Maron said management cited him for a lease violation because of the incident, but the nephew was actually visiting a different relative who lives in the complex.
The management company’s rules hold tenants responsible for the behavior of visitors.
Maron said he also has been cited for allegedly having unauthorized guests and dealing in illegal drugs, both of which he said were based on erroneous accusations by other people.
Maron acknowledged he was drinking beer outside his townhouse on two occasions, in violation of management rules.
He said the first time he was not aware of the rule, and the second time he thought he was allowed to have alcohol on the porch outside his townhouse.
Maron said relatives have hired a lawyer, who is helping him fight eviction.
City: Be strict
City officials are aware there have been evictions at the complex, said city Community Development Director Thomas Donohue.
"I do know the management has a set of rules for all tenants," he said. "If you don’t play by the rules, you’re evicted."
City officials asked Preservation Management to strictly enforce rules, he said.
"That (lax enforcement) was one of the problems we had with the last management company," he said.
Tenants evicted from Henry Hudson, now known as Village Green, are not necessarily disqualified from participating in other HUD-subsidized programs, but must go through the typical screening and application process, Donohue said.
The Glens Falls Housing Authority has a lengthy waiting list for its programs, Donohue said.
Applicants at John P. Burke Apartments in Queensbury, another HUD-subsidized complex, typically wait about six months for a one-bedroom unit to become available and about one month for larger apartments, said Darcy Sherman, who manages the Queensbury complex.
Sherman would not say whether any of the tenants Preservation Management has evicted from Henry Hudson Town Houses now live at John P. Burke Apartments.
"I’m not going to answer that question," she said.
Clark, who had lived at Henry Hudson Town Houses for 23 years, said she moved in with her mother in Kingsbury.
It was disappointing not to be moving into one of the new Village Green apartments, she said.
"I was looking very forward to getting a new place to live," Clark said. "I was very bitterly heartbroken and distraught when I was told I had to move. It, like, really hurt a lot."
Most of those evicted have either moved in with relatives or received emergency housing assistance from the Department of Social Services, tenants facing eviction said.