West Allens Lane tenants withdraw fair housing complaint, move out

In the end, they decided to move out.

As part of a settlement deal reached Jan. 3, a group of residents at a soon-to-be-renovated Mount Airy apartment complex withdrew its fair housing complaint and agreed to vacate the property by Feb. 20.

On Aug. 3, the 136 West Allens Lane Tenant Association, which comprised about a dozen residents, filed the complaint with the city’s Fair Housing Commission in an effort to resolve an extensive list of code violations that, group members said, made most units unlivable.

The document was directed against Gregory Stewart, Residential Life, LCC and Allen’s Lane Lender, LLC.

Stewart heads up Residential Life, a property management company connected to Iron Stone Strategic Capitol Partners, which owns the four-building site. Allen’s Lane Lender LLC has a similar tie.

“It turned out that the group, as a whole, did not want to stay there,” said Phil Lord, executive director of the Tenant Union Representative Network, which represented the involved residents.

As part of the settlement, tenants did not have to pay any back rent before leaving. Between Aug. 3 and Jan. 3, association members withheld rent and placed the payments in separate escrow accounts, a standard practice when fair housing complaints are filed.

According to tenants, a one-bedroom currently runs $650 per month; a two-bedroom, $750.

“The tenants got a good deal and we’re glad it worked out,” said Lord.

Andrew Eisenstein, managing director of Iron Stone, didn’t have much to say when asked about the settlement.

“I don’t really have feelings about it,” he said.

Construction, which will displace all current residents, is now scheduled to begin in March and take 18 months to complete. Crews will tackle one building at a time.

When finished, the roughly $2 million project will yield 54 one and two-bedroom apartments. In September, Eisenstein estimated that one-bedroom units would run between $750 and $800 per month; a two-bedroom between $1,000 and $1,100.

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