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Tenants Refusing Rent Increase Face Eviction

Members of the Malden Tenants United tenants union receive eviction notices for failure to reach a new rental agreement with Brighton-based Alpha Management. A lawyer with the group says more are to come.

Members of a Malden/Medford tenants union said they plan to fight eviction notices they received this month after refusing to pay steep increases in rent imposed by the property's new owner.

The group – Malden Tenants United – was formed in an effort to collectively bargain with Brighton-based property managers Alpha Management, which last May after buying 265 units in Malden and Medford for $24 million.

So far, owner Anwar Faisal has offered to work with tenants on a case-by-case basis, but refuses to collectively bargain with the group, saying the increases represent a fair market value for the long under-valued property.

The union voted to continue paying their original rent and avoid individual negotiations last May. 

 

...with more to come

Faisal's attorney Joshua Krefetz confirmed multiple evictions were taking place, and that union members refusing to negotiate or pay the increase would ultimately receive such a summons.

“(In the case of) someone who just keeps insisting on sending the old rent...their tenancy ended at the end of June, so they will eventually receive a summary process eviction summons for staying over after the end of their tenancy,” Krefetz said.

"I think there is an overstatement of the case by the people who have fashioned themselves as the leaders of this union," he continued, adding he would be "very surprised" if the cases went to a jury. 

He encouraged residents to negotiate directly with the Alpha Management office.

"I think (this tactic) hurts the people who are maybe...in a more difficult position, when those who could pay basically use them as cannon fodder,"  he said. "I don't think that's really helpful."

While an exact figure of the number of evictions planned was not immediately available, Krefetz said he had dealt with five such cases in court Thursday. 

 

Retaliation? 

Still, members of the union said they would challenge the evictions in court, with one alleging her early selection for the process was retaliation for her involvement in the union.

“I plan on fighting this, it's clearly retaliation,” Alice Alisme, who plays a leadership role in the tenants union, said. “How are you going to cash everybody's check (in my building) and not evict anybody from there, but then evict me?”

Krefetz acknowledged that some tenants would receive summons before others, noting time constraints at the small Malden housing court prohibited his office from processing all of the claims simultaneously.

He added that his client “is not aware of who is a leader in the union," and then volunteered one member present during negotiations in Mayor Gary Christenson's office “might have got a summons so far.”

“But I don't think it's accurate to say that the leaders of the movement have been targeted,” he concluded.

david mokal July 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM
UT OH another P'n Contest ! I feel bad for anyone who gets evicted and no where to go. If they were bad tennents well they asked for it but hard working people I really feel bad for them. Thats what happends when there is too much concrete in the city. Best to rent in a private home. Ive allways said and its a known fact Lawyers and Real Estate Companies have a licence to steal. Just look what happened to this country.
Fighting for my home August 05, 2012 at 09:12 PM
How can you be so callus to say that? These people in Malden and Medford aren't thieves. They had a great relationship for many years, with many from 10 - 31 years. Many are also disabled, elderly, low-income, veterans, immigrants and decent hard-working people. They just can't jump 20-50% immediately. or get out. Would you be able to move out in 2 weeks of you'd lived somewhere for 13 years and be given no-fault eviction notices and someone towing your car from a space you paid for? I don't think so.
Marc Levine August 05, 2012 at 11:25 PM
"Excellent Landlord" Have you heard some of the things they have pulled. Going into apartments when nobody is home (and not not make repairs) the list goes on. Is this man (company) entitled to raise the rent, Sure they are, but so much at one time. The rents are under priced but keep in mind, no pool, no workout area gym, limited parking, not updated, no dishwashers, no disposals. Even new tenants have starting to complain about Alpha entering their apartments when they are not home. The ones who are paying "Full market price" Maybe if Alpha did not take out a mortgage based on their "proposed" increases there would not be as much trouble. That's just my opinion. When this all started......Studio apartment - current rent $740.00 (too low I admit) they told this person his new rent due in 2 weeks would be $950.00. Reply at will....
Marc Levine August 05, 2012 at 11:43 PM
I read your article......would love to see how Malden (Boston) ranks in how high their rents have gone up. This is not New York, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, San Jose, San Fran, etc. As I said before is Alpha entitled to ask for a "reasonable" increase? Sure they are. But what they first asked for and the amount of time they gave the current tenants to pay show's their true colors. Google the company as well. Sure some folks have had some nice things to say but most of the reviews, well read for yourself. There's got to be a happy medium here.
Marc Levine August 05, 2012 at 11:48 PM
REPLY TO R.P. The current tenants lived with the code violations. They figured don't complain, keep quiet and the rents stay low. You want this fixed, you want that replaced, the rents would of went up. I could be wrong but 50 years of school of life has taught me a lot.

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