Bradlee Road Tenant Association Resistance against no-fault evictions and rent increases and fight for collective negotiations and rent control
Español en articulo propía aqui. Imagine facing your first eviction court hearing after all your old neighbors were already pushed out and displaced. The Bradlee Road Tenant Association (TA) stood strong with community support as they faced their first eviction court hearing today, which ended favorably for the tenants because they can continue efforts to start collective negotiations with landlord Savage Properties. Now tenants are prepping for the eviction trial scheduled for March 28th, marking the one-year anniversary since Kristin and Amanda received their first notice to evict for no reason, infamously known as the no-fault notice to quit. The Bradlee Road Tenants Association is ready to lead a big rally outside the courthouse before the trial on the 28th to pressure Savage properties to start negotiating a stable multi-year housing contract and to uplift the need for rent control in Massachusetts.
Today, before entering the Housing Court, a crowd of yellow neon T-shirts scrunched over puffy jackets stood in an intimate circle outside the Eastern Housing Court with Bradlee Road leaders: Kristin and Amanda. Amanda and Kristin were met with a solidarity circle of a dozen community supporters chanting, “we are here with you, don’t evict, negotiate!” They also entered the Housing court and sat in solidarity with the Bradlee Road Tenant Association leaders. This solidarity ritual started over 20 years ago at CLVU in response to the mass displacement that led up to the foreclosure crisis in 2008 and formally became a “court support” committee at CLVU in 2018.
Amanda and Kristen Welliver from the Bradlee Road Tenant Associations (TA), who live on Bradlee Rd. in Medford, face a no-fault eviction in Eastern Housing Court and will bring their battle for housing justice, rent control and negotiations into the Boston Housing Courtrooms with landlords Jason and Melanie Savage, corporate owners of Savage Properties.
“We are here because of you. We wouldn't be in this fight without the support we've gotten,” says Kristin, and Amanda continued by responding, “We are so grateful to everyone and everyone at CLVU.” Kristin announces, “When we first connected to CLVU, we were scared, we didn't know what to do, and we had no hope. But CLVU and all of you brought us hope. We not only want to make change for ourselves but want change and rent control in Medford, Boston, and the rest of Massachusetts"
Photo: Tenants and small homeowners in support of Bradlee Road Tenant Association sharing words of solidarity to Kristin and Amanda before court (2023; credit: Gabriela Cartagena)
The next large rally in support of the Bradlee Road Tenant Association will be on the day of their next court date, Tuesday, March 28th. The court Amanda and Kristin will soon face on 3/28, known as the "bench trial," where the judge hears the whole case and makes a decision on the eviction case on the very day of the one-year anniversary since Kristin and Amanda received their first notice to evict. CLVU will do a media push closer to this date and continue public pressure; see you then.
Background: The tenants at 22-26 Bradlee Road in Medford came from all walks of life: families, seniors, and working individuals. Some lived in the building for decades. But since the corporate developer, Savage Properties bought the building and cruelly forced out tenants, many seniors, with 30-day eviction notices, 21 of the older tenants were evicted in this process. A majority of the Bradlee Road community was forced to relocate. Many have been pushed farther from the city and are forced to pay higher rents for smaller apartments. Medford City Councilors and Medford Mayor Lungo-Koehn penned a public letter to Savage in June, writing, “Market forces may create tempting opportunities for luxury renovations & increased rents-- but as city leaders, we say stability & wellbeing of our community comes first.” Despite the broad support for the tenants, Savage persisted in pushing them out. Only one of the dozens of original households remains.
ONE household remains out of all the tenants who originally lived in the building before Savage Properties. The remaining household is married couple Kristin and Amanda, who’s lived at Bradlee Road for 14 years. The Bradlee Road TA started to demand negotiations almost a year ago with the support of neighbors who’ve already been displaced to unite against displacement and rent increases. The Bradlee Road Tenant Association has participated in 5 protests since May 2022 in their respective neighborhood and at the largest rent control rally last month, January 2023, in support of the newly filed rent control bill HD3953/SD1818. The Bradlee Road Tenant Association also organized a petition with over 570+ signatures to demand Savage Properties negotiate with the tenants remaining and living in the building along with the tenants Savage Properties displaced. In November, the Bradlee Road Tenant Association with CLVU led an online "Twitter storm" demanding Boston Mayor Michelle Wu reject new development project proposals and zoning requests from developers like Savage Properties that participate in the mass displacement of working-class tenants.
Photo: screenshot of the CLVU tweet sample of the twitter storm done targeting Savage Properties and tagging Mayor Wu to notify her to DENY permits to greedy corporate landlords like Savage who evict for profit (2023; credit: Grace Holley)
Before today, the most recent rally was earlier this month, where the Bradlee Road TA held a rally at the JP Pond Brookline side, which sits right outside the gated community where the landlord of Savage Properties lives. The media coverage garnered by that rally was sabotaged by Savage Properties, who lied and made false claims published in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and multiple media outlets.
Since articles were published with Savage Properties' lies, a few tenants have privately come forward willing to make public statements to refute false claims. For example, former 22-26 Bradlee Road tenant Liz Stack, one of the many tenants displaced within 30 days with a no-fault eviction notice in Spring 2022 with no compensation, says, “Savage Properties was not willing to negotiate any terms with me. After leaving the apartment, the unit was rented the following Saturday with an increase of $500. I was forced to move and am paying $550 more a month. I was not given any compensation from Savage at all in terms of moving expenses. At the time of this upheaval, I was beside myself. Had I known my rights, I would have stayed there and fought alongside Kristin and Amanda. The article written in the Boston Globe, along with many comments, is incorrect about people not paying their rent and living rent-free. I don't believe any of the tenants were looking to live rent-free. We were looking to be treated with dignity. We were forced out of our home.” We know that no displacement is amicable. The next large rally for the Bradlee Road Tenant Association will be on the day of their next court date, Tuesday, March 28th, that court is known as the "bench trial," where the judge hears the whole case and makes a decision. CLVU will make a media push closer to this date.