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SCCLS assists tenants facing eviction from New Bedford building (The New Bedford Light and South Coast Today)

South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS), along with other local agencies and nonprofits, has provided legal information and assistance to New Bedford tenants facing eviction by their apartment complex’s new owner and given little time to move. 189-193 Elm Street’s new owner, TI Partners, sent letters to dozens of tenants giving them one month to leave. The developer plans to renovate the property and increase rents for the units.

Below are excerpts from the news coverage.

The New Bedford Light (Oct. 24):

At South Coastal Counties Legal Services, the largest category of cases are ones where a landlord has increased the rent and the tenant can’t pay. Gavin Bates, the managing attorney for the organization’s New Bedford office, will be at Tuesday’s meeting. He said Terra Incognita appears to be “moving very aggressively” with the evictions.

“A whole building, 24 units at once — not normal,” he said. “Normally, they ease people out, a little more gently, and over a period of time.”

Bates said he hopes his organization can help tenants delay their evictions while they look for other arrangements. If a landlord has not resolved issues with an apartment or they didn’t file their paperwork correctly, that could push back an eviction, Bates said. A sympathetic judge could also provide extra time.

Read more in The New Bedford Light.

South Coast Today (Oct. 26):

Gavin Bates, the managing attorney for South Coastal Counties Legal Services‘ New Bedford Office, said there were options and that it would be possible that tenants would not have to leave just yet. 

“The 30-day notice, while that is technically correct, that is not how fast the courts move,” he said. “It’s terrifying, however, there are a lot of options available for folk if they stop and assess.”

Read more in South Coast Today.

South Coast Today (Oct. 31):

Regarding the Elm Street complex, Mayor Jon Mitchell said that though the city cannot intervene in a lease dispute, the reports he read concern him.

“The particular case of the Elm Street residents, based on what has been reported, I believe they were not given fair notice of the landlord’s intentions,” he said. “We strongly urge the tenants to reach out to South Coastal Counties Legal Services for assistance. Regardless of the legal merits of the case, I believe that landlords have a moral obligation to afford departing tenants a reasonable opportunity to seek new housing.”

Read more in South Coast Today.