Burien residents being forced out of apartments by new ownership

Families in 36 units at the Fox Cove Burien apartment complex, located at 149 SW 160th St., have been told they need to move out after the property got sold to a new owner.

Many of them are low-income and worry they'll be pushed to homelessness in just weeks.

“I just feel like we are being bullied, pushed around, because they don’t care about us,” said Derek Galdos, a Fox Cove tenant.

Scroll down to continue reading

More news from KIRO 7

Now they’re calling on the Burien City Council for help.

KIRO7’s Deedee Sun went to the apartment complex to speak with one resident, but more than a dozen people came out, all wanting their voices heard.

They said they need help fast, because some have to get out in a month or be evicted.

But many are paying less than $1,000 a month for two-bedroom apartments, a price that they say just doesn't exist in the area anymore.

“It’s heartbreaking, it's very upsetting, it's very angering,” said Shanell Rose, a Fox Cove tenant who's lived at the complex for about a decade.

“It’s not right, it’s inhumane,” said Don Thurston, another tenant.

All of the residents got a letter earlier this month saying the property ownership had changed hands to SUHRCO Residential Properties in Bellevue.

Then, residents said people in the first six units and Section 8 got a letter, saying they needed to move out by Oct. 31.

“You are hereby notified that your tenancy of the premises is terminated,” the letter read. “And on that day you will be required to surrender possession of the premises to the Landlord.”

Jay Cismowski, a mom of four kids, said her family has been homeless before.

“We were living in a hotel for a long time,” she said. “It was a hard time. If you don’t have that every week rent you get the boot.”

Now, their stability is again threatened.

“It’s very unfortunate we get such short notice, and it's starting to get cold outside. Where are we supposed to go? We can't afford to go,” she said.

In fact, almost all the tenants here are fearful for what's next

“Do any of you anticipate that some unites, some families who live in this complex will be pushed to homelessness because of this?” KIRO7’s Deedee Sun asked the group of more than a dozen residents.

Most hands went up, and they responded with a chorus of yes’s.

Becky Penland has lived at Fox Cove for nearly 11 years, uses an oxygen tank, and is on disability.

“We don't have a lot of money to move,” Penland said.

Rose doesn’t drive and walks to work. She said her husband died five months ago and she had to get a roommate.

“I'm on minimum wage, my roommate works, so we're struggling to make ends meet,” Rose said.

Shana Coe, another resident, said she has been homeless too.

“I don't think there's one person here that moved here without some type of rental barrier. If people could afford to live somewhere else we would,” Coe said.

Now, they're asking the city of Burien for help.

“We have nowhere to go,” Penland said.

“Hopefully some assistance at least, not just be booted out with nothing,” Cismowski said.

KIRO7 reached out to property management but did not hear back Saturday night.

The good news is that the problem has already caught the attention of at least one Burien City Council member, Krystal Marx.

Marx said on the phone Saturday night that to her knowledge, what’s happening is all legal.

She said she's reached out to other council members and they'll be looking at options on how to help the residents, and will be meeting with the residents tomorrow.

Marx said she also plans on suggesting looking at how the Tacoma City Council handled it when residents at the Tiki Apartments were faced with a similar situation in April.