Rent increase

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the country, substantial rent increases and renovation issues for tenants at Springbrook Apartments in Kernersville could not be happening at a worse time.
According to some tenants, much has changed, and not for the better, since Springbrook Apartments, located off Salisbury Street, changed ownership at the end of September 2019. Greystone Capital Kernersville, LLC based in Charlotte bought the apartment complex, which is one of the largest in the Triad, from Springbrook Associates, LLC of Kernersville for $19.4 million, according to the Forsyth County Register of Deeds filing.
A letter from Springbrook Apartments to a tenant with a one-bedroom apartment whose new lease, if signed, would begin on May 1, 2020, announced a rent rate increase from $420 to $650 with an added trash and grounds fee of $10 per month and a pest control fee of $3 per month.
The letter also outlined another significant and not appreciated change for tenants, which read as follow:
“If you find you will not be renewing your Lease here at Springbrook Apartments please remember you must give a Written 30 day notice of your intent to Vacate. If we do not hear from you and your Lease expires, you will be put on a Month to month Lease. That means you will be charged Market Rent+ $100 Month to Month Fee.”
According to a tenant, for those who don’t renew their lease the rent for tenants of one-bedroom apartments will be going up from $420 to $763 during this already very troubling time. In news articles about Greystone Capital’s purchase of Springbrook Apartments, Jim Zacharias, who is listed as Greystone’s manager and registered agent, was quoted as saying, “There will be a minor bump in the rent, but our goal is to keep every existing resident.” An increase of $420 to $663 is hardly a “minor bump,” and an increase of $420 to $763 for month to month renters is even worse.
Danielle White, who rents a two-bedroom unit at Springbrook Apartments, noted the difficulties many would have with the rent rate changes and other issues at the apartment complex.
“We have so many senior citizens with fixed incomes here, and some of these units still have window units and baseboard heat. If people can’t afford to pay the rent increase they will be adding another $100 a month. Month to month is not what they signed up for. I also question asking 30 days to tell them if you are going to move out,” said White.
The letter to a one-bedroom apartment tenant also stated that, “Once we have received notice of your intent to renew your Lease, and your new Lease has been signed, we will begin renovations to your apartment. These renovations include: painting of current cabinets white with new white shaker cabinet doors, new satin nickel hardware for cabinets, new appliances for kitchen, new faux granite countertops and making sure interior light fixtures are satin nickel.”
The rent raises, renovations and or lack thereof in some cases, and a lack of communication between apartment owners and people who work for the apartment has also been a problem, according to tenants.
“In October they promised all these renovations. The rent price after the renovation was $100 more. What they did was they took out the appliances and replaced them. The refrigerators don’t fit under the cabinets. The frig is out to the window. A good extra foot and a half of the fridge is hanging out into the kitchen and they are not big kitchens to begin with,” White said.
She continued.
“The dishwasher barely works, and it is supposed to be new. They were supposed to do new cabinets and new floors and they haven’t done that. Getting in touch with them is almost impossible. The one time I did it was to a leasing consultant who had no idea what was going on.
“The pest control comes out maybe every three months. The grass around the apartments had been up to your knees. They did the grass for the first time since November on Tuesday and they did a horrible job. In the middle of a pandemic, not only are they trying to do renovations but they are trying to kick people out. They can’t do it now (because of an order from Gov. Cooper), but they can keep charging, and by the time this is over people could owe thousands of dollars.”
Miranda Poe, who rented a three-bedroom apartment at Springbrook, also had some complaints about renovations, new developments at the complex, and one situation she said could have put some people at serious risk.
“Effective in April they put in water meters, which I assume means we will be charged for water now, and you can never get anybody on the phone. I got a letter at the end of February saying my rent would go from $700 to $850 plus. In March, I was on lockdown for COVID-19 and they wanted to put in the new countertops. I was still on lockdown and they wanted to change my air filter. I told them to take it up with the CDC,” Poe said. “On Feb. 17, they unlocked our door at 10:23 a.m. and the door was still unlocked at 3:45 p.m. Our laws say I have to secure my front door for my weapons to be secure. They exposed firearms to other people. They don’t feel like they have to tell us when they are coming when we are on lockdown.”
It should be duly noted that landlords and apartment complexes can legally raise the rent if they are doing renovations. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, job losses and the many people and their families being forced to stay inside, many tenants at Springbrook believe this is a horrible time for rent increases and renovations.
“They presented it as a ‘Mom and Pop’ Apartment complex and now they want to run it like an LLC. They are flipping everybody’s world upside down when our world is already flipped upside down,” said Poe.
Poe told the News that she was moving out of her apartment at Springbrook today, and she believes a number of other people will be doing the same in the future.
Attempts by the News to contact Springbrook Apartments via phone and email were not returned by the time of publication.

Previous post:

Next post: