TAMPA, Fla. — Tenants at Holly Court apartments have been given three weeks to leave their homes. Many of them are on a fixed income and can’t afford to move. Residents protested Friday, hoping the property owner Palm Communities, LLC would change their mind.
“What a way to start the new year, knowing you're going to be homeless,” said Ernest Nelson
On New Year’s Eve, Ernest Nelson learned he would be uprooted from his home of five years. Dozens of residents at Holly Court Apartments were served non-renewal and eviction letters, saying they had 30 days to vacate.
“We no longer want you as a resident here,” Nelson said.
Nelson who's on disability has been scrambling to find a new place for him and his service dog Sebastion. He said finding something affordable and handicap accessible has been extremely difficult.
“I’m on a fixed income based on what I make. With the market value up 24% in the Hillsborough area, I can't qualify for anything,” he said.
In 2021 Tampa Bay had the highest rent spike in the nation, for markets with at least 100,000 apartments, according to CoStar Group, a commercial real estate data firm.
Bratton Young with Tampa Tenants Union said some tenants at Holly Court pay only $650 a month for rent.
“The price of a one-bedroom is closer to $1,300. That’s essentially doubling a person’s rent. That’s absolutely impossible here in Tampa and it’s likely more and more people will end up on the streets,” said Young said.
Nelson just wants more time.
“C’mon man just have a heart. That’s all I ask. Me and Bas gonna to be alright,” he said.