- The apartments at 1020 North Quincy Street. (Photo: TBD Staff)
The latest news from Arlington County's housing bureau may quell a panic that set in over renovations at a Ballston apartment building earlier this week.
Some residents were alarmed over a notice posted in the building's elevator informing tenants that renovations would begin in October, and that they would be displaced for two to three weeks while their apartments were renovated.
Arlington County housing bureau chief Renee Willis tells TBD that Virginia state law requires the building to give 120 days notice to each individual tenant in advance of when they will have to vacate the apartment. The notice must be in writing, and a blanket notice, like the one that was posted for a short time in the elevator, does not suffice, Willis adds.
She is recommending the building's management, Resi Management, have a meeting with tenants in order to clear up the confusion.
Willis spoke with the building's management today and plans to meet with the manager later this week. "I explained to them that they really do need to have a tenant meeting as soon as possible to let the tenants know what their plans are," Willis says. "There are some legitimate questions there."
There appeared to be some confusion because the notice stated that the renovations would begin as soon as October, Willis says. Management explained that those first renovations will be on the 19 vacant units in the building, according to the housing officer.
Building manager Irum Unseri said yesterday that tenants would be given the option to move into one of the renovated apartments once the major renovation starts. There is also a project to replace the windows, expected to take two to four months, that may be completed first, she said.
Residents that contacted us after yesterday's story asked that their names not be used for fear of repercussions from the building management. They mainly voiced concern over the lack of communication and the lack of answers from the building's management.
"Most residents are not angry about the renovations per se. They are are angry about the way it is being handled by management," one resident tells us. "All the information that I have to date is second hand. I was on vacation when the notice was posted in the elevator for three days."
"No one really knows what is going on," says another. He also points out that he doesn't love the idea of the renovation if it means higher rents.
"A lot of people thing our apartments are fine. Not everyone needs high end features," he says. "There’s a market for this ...not everyone here makes $150,000 a year. There are plenty of normal people that don’t want to spend all their money on rent."
Willis says that even though housing authorities recommend giving tenants as much notice as possible, in this case, the informational notice in the elevator "did more damage than anything."
"Tenants don’t know what’s planned, or how this is going to affect them," she says. She will reiterate the laws regarding tenant notification when she meets with the management later in the week, she says.
A call to the building management this afternoon was not immediately returned.