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Tenants must buy or move out

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 09/02) - Residents of Forrest Drive Manor must buy their apartments or move out.

Forrest Drive Manor's 25 tenants received a letter in June stating the units will become condominiums. Tenants who choose not to buy - all but three - must move by Sept. 30.

NNSL Photo

Lorna Catholique and her son, Zehro'h, must move by Sept 30. - Jennifer McPhee/NNSL photo

Lorna Catholique moved into her apartment just 10 months ago. At that time, no one told her her apartment would soon become a condominium.

She hasn't found a place to live yet. While her family planned to move eventually because the rent is too high ($1,350 monthly for her three-bedroom apartment) she didn't expect it to happen so soon.

"It will be hard to find a place," she said. "But this was alright because it is costly. But it happened kind of fast."

She doesn't want to spend the $120,000 to purchase her apartment.

"I don't think it's really worth that much."

Vera Hobbs is in the process of moving out. She says buying isn't an option.

"I'm a single parent and it's very expensive."

She managed to rent another place after two months of phoning her new landlord every day.

"I basically begged them for that place," she said.

Another tenant, Tracy Miller, decided to buy. "We didn't want to, but we didn't want to get caught with no place to live," she said.

Still, she said the unit is "nice enough" and "wasn't a bad deal."

Her unit costs $120,000 plus $500 monthly in condo fees. Apartments in the building range from $109,000 to $120,000.

Buyers receive a $5,000 cheque to renovate.

The down payment for Forrest Drive Manor apartments is $5,000 to $6,000.

"The initial money is probably the main reason why a lot of people didn't buy," said Miller.

Property manager Kelly Hayden said the building's two owners live in Edmonton and want to sell the building because they are retiring.

He said tenants received an "exclusive opportunity to buy" before the offer went public.

Hayden said the mortgage payments, taxes and condo fees equal the current monthly rental payments.

"It protects them from rising rental rates," he said.

And tenants could be eligible for help purchasing the units through a new Housing Corporation program, he said.

He also held a meeting with tenants in June explaining the situation and gave them more than the required 90 days notice.

He added residents only pay rent until they move out, even if it's before the Sept. 30 deadline.

"We've been very flexible that way."

Ten of the 25 residents have moved out so far. Three tenants chose to buy and four people don't have a another place yet, he said.