Atlanta, GA

Amid rent strike, Forest Cove owner says condemned complex’s tenants won’t have to pay until relocated

AtlantaCivicCircle

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Tenants and activists march toward the Forest Cove leasing office to deliver a letter declaring the rent strike. (Credit: Sean Keenan)Sean Keenan

By Sean Keenan for Atlanta Civic Circle

Forest Cove tenants kicked off a rent strike Tuesday morning, just hours before Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens unveiled a plan for the city to help relocate the remaining families from the dilapidated Section 8 complex, which has been condemned by an Atlanta judge. 

And in a move that stunned residents and activists, the property owner, Millennia Housing Management, said residents won’t have to pay monthly rent until they’re relocated

“Any resident with an outstanding balance can make an appointment with office staff to discuss past-due forgiveness,” Millennia said in a statement from spokesperson Valerie Jerome.

An Atlanta judge condemned the 396-unit complex in December, ordering Millennia to relocate tenants by March 1 and level the buildings before Sept. 22.

Millennia, which had previously said it would invest over $56 million to rehabilitate the property, has appealed the ruling, but its executives acknowledged earlier this month that demolition and reconstruction might be the only option.

In another unexpected development, Dickens’ office announced plans on Tuesday afternoon to direct municipal funds toward relocation efforts, which Millennia had said before the condemnation order would cost $9 million — and to fast-track the buildout of neighboring land owned by Atlanta Housing to accommodate the Forest Cove tenants.

“Mayor Dickens has directed Atlanta Housing, Invest Atlanta, and the city’s Department of Planning to make immediate plans to develop the Thomasville [Heights] housing site” — a public housing project razed in 2010 that’s adjacent to Forest Cove — spokesperson Michael Smith told Atlanta Civic Circle in a statement.

Sean Keenan has been covering Forest Cove for more than a year. Find the rest of this article here: Relocation

And the context of this specific complex here: Forest Cove Saga

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