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Durham apartment's financial woes forcing out residents

Posted October 9, 2012

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— Residents of a Durham apartment complex are being evicted after the apartment's management and owners say they can no longer afford to run the community.

Bernadette Toomer, who moved into Lincoln Apartments less than four months ago, received a letter on Sept. 28 from the apartment's management company, Southern Real Estate Management & Consultants Inc. notifying her and other residents of the 78-unit complex that because of "unfavorable financial conditions," the apartments will close at the end of October.

"I was like, 'What am I going to do?'" Toomer said Tuesday.

For Toomer, who is on disability, Lincoln Apartments wasn't easy to find.

"When I first started out to try and find housing, it was really hard for me, because of my income," she said. "It was the only place that was able to work with me at the time."

Residents went before the Durham County Board of Commissioners Monday night asking for help.

But county leaders, as well as city administrators, say they can't force the apartment complex to remain open or extend the eviction.

Durham apartment's financial woes forcing out residents Durham apartment's financial woes forcing out residents

Southern Real Estate Management did not respond to requests for an interview Tuesday, but Durham's deputy city manager, Keith Chadwell, says the company is operating with "large financial deficits" and has had both infrastructure expenses and problems with tenants paying rent.

"The fundamental challenge is that this tenant population is very low income and without full-time employment," Chadwell said. "Many are behind on their rents, which impacts the ability of the complex management to provide proper maintenance."

Chadwell says the city has been in "heartfelt" discussions with the apartment complex's owners about ways to delay eviction, but it's too early to know what the possible outcomes of those talks might be.

"They've been very, very cooperative to see if there is an opportunity, in spite of their challenged business circumstances, to create a better outcome," Chadwell said.

In the meantime, Durham's Department of Social Services has been trying to relocate residents.

Toomer says she has no idea yet where she'll go.

"I really haven't thought that far ahead right now, because I don't want to get to the end yet," she said. "I just want to take all my time and my energy, right now, and just fight."

22 Comments

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  • piene2 Oct 11, 10:49 a.m.

    "Bet they had no trouble paying for cable tv and their cell phones.
    superman"

    Lots of families share cable (yes I know it is not allowed) and get free cell phone service.

  • piene2 Oct 11, 9:17 a.m.

    "Used to be a landlord and had section 8 housing. Tax Man"

    The beauty of Section Eight payments is that, in a properly managed situation,they are enough to make it unimportant if the tenants pay or not. I always say, "If one is not Syrian, the next best thing is to have a Syrian accountant." We consider what our tenants pay as sort of extra gravy, not really needed to keep the wheels turning.

  • superman Oct 11, 9:09 a.m.

    Bet they had no trouble paying for cable tv and their cell phones.

  • storchheim Oct 10, 4:31 p.m.

    Oh, one way or the other tax dollars will pay. We'll either hand them cash to pay their rent, or send police in riot gear to escort everyone out at the end of the month. But we WILL be gouged. Again.

    Is Toomer's rent all paid up? No? Then she has nothing to say. Please tell me these people are playing dumb.

  • 3779LRRP Oct 10, 3:51 p.m.

    It might get a little ugly at the end of October at Lincoln. My guess is the City of Durham will intervene with tax dollars.

  • storchheim Oct 10, 12:35 p.m.

    "...tenants live in an apartment complex where nearly nobody pays their rent and then are surprised when the apartment complex goes under..." WW1

    And here I thought I was just racist for not wanting to live in such a place.

  • storchheim Oct 10, 12:32 p.m.

    " Obviously, the owners were trying to work with people who wanted to pay but couldn't. This speaks to a larger problem of incomes that can't keep up with the market. " fuzzmom

    Why do you say the people WANTED to pay? Did you talk to any of them?

    Incomes that can't keep up with the market? How about, people who won't live within their means and may never have held a job in their lives?

    It doesn't mention Toomer's disability, age, or how many kids she has. As always, look for what ISN'T reported.

  • fbaez81 Oct 10, 11:41 a.m.

    I agree with pretty much everyone's thoughts...

  • Tax Man Oct 10, 10:39 a.m.

    Used to be a landlord and had section 8 housing. Fortunately we got the government to pay us the rent directly or many of our tenants would have used the "rent" money to buy other stuff. Still had to evict a few who did not pay their "share" of rent, usually about 10% the government did not pay. And our places were nice, well kept, safe and at a very competitive rent amount. Actually glad to be out of that business as it was so hard to see all the hard cases every month.

  • NCSUEngineerFC Oct 10, 10:34 a.m.

    How can anyone on this board pretend like they know exactly what the facts are regarding the financial situation of all the tenants in this apartment complex? One person claims they are all living off the government. How do you know that? How do you know there aren't several hard working people that live in the complex and do not make enough money to meet all their financial obligations each month? Have some compassion for Pete's sake. This country has become so full of hatred, selfishness, and condemnation. Quit making blanket statements until you know all the facts, sheesh.

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