The Tacoma City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. in council chambers to discuss the eviction of residents of the Tiki Apartments.
Concerned Tacomans — both residents of the Tiki Apartments and those sympathetic to their plight — packed City Council chambers on Tuesday night to urge the city to do more to protect apartment dwellers from sudden evictions and removals.
The Tiki Apartments, just off South 12th Street near state Route 16, were purchased by the Seattle-based CWD Investments LLC earlier this month. On April 5, residents in all 58 units received a notice from Allied Residential, the third-party company that now manages the property. The notices said residents in half of the units have until April 30 to vacate. Residents in the other half have until the end of May.
"This is the second time since I've applied with Tacoma Housing Authority that I've been asked to leave a dwelling place," says Sarah Howe, a legally blind tenant in a wheelchair who will be forced to leave the Tiki Apartments. "I've got six days and I'm going to be on the street."
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Many of the people living at the Tiki Apartments are on disability or low or fixed incomes and face homelessness as a result of the sudden news. Though the property owner has promised a $900 stipend once residents turn in their keys, many have nowhere to go and don't have the means to pay first and last month's rent as well as a deposit for a new place on such short notice.
Some speakers on Tuesday night worried there is not enough affordable housing in Tacoma to absorb the residents once the Tiki is closed for major renovations. About 30 people signed up Tuesday night to voice support for the residents and to urge city legislation to provide protections for tenants in similar situations.
The City Council voted unanimously to direct City Manager Elizabeth Pauli "to look into options for expanding tenant rights, while working with tenant and landlord groups to build a consensus, and to bring possible recommendations to be discussed at an upcoming Community Vitality and Safety Committee meeting."
Mayor Victoria Woodards also directed Pauli to look into any possible violations of landlord-tenant law that may have occurred at the Tiki Apartments and other Allied Residential properties, as alleged by some speakers at Tuesday's meeting.