Tenants protest through Ballard streets against rising rents

SEATTLE — Frustrated tenants marched through Ballard on Sunday to protest local businessman John Goodman and his company, Goodman Real Estate.

They say GRE, which bought the Lockhaven apartment complex and the Theodora, is pricing tenants out of their homes and even forcing some of them to leave early.

They took their frustrations to Goodman's front door: the gates of the private Ballard marina he owns, Golden Tides.

Jett Terrell said she used to live at Lockhaven and pay a little under $900 a month. Terrell said that was a stretch since she's waiting for a kidney transplant and has mounting medical bills.

She said GRE informed her that the new rent would be $1,500.

"I moved in with my daughter rather than look for an apartment because I don't know what's going to happen in my life," she said.

Goodman is planning big renovations for the 138 units at Lockhaven.

The 22-building apartment complex's list of tenants includes low-income and working class residents as well as seniors, and they want Goodman to keep 50 units the way they are: affordable.

Jonathan Grant, executive dDirector of the Tenants Union of Washington, said Goodman is forcing some of the tenants out early after promising they could leave in the fall.

"Just because it's not necessarily illegal doesn't make it morally right," he said.

But a representative for Goodman said the company gave four tenants 70-days notice and another tenant 90-days notice that they had to move out because the construction timeline had changed.

GRE also gave residents more than $60,000 in relocation funds and provided a relocation specialist to help them find new places to live.

Terrell said the money doesn't go far in a market lacking in affordable housing.

She said the list of places she received charge, in some cases, double the rent she was paying.

Terrell said while Lockhaven may be a lost cause now, she and others are setting their sights on saving The Theodora, a low-income apartment Goodman has also purchased.

"Basically, we've decided if we have to go, let's give him a hard time on the way out," she said.