Letter from tenants of Our Lady's Guild House to the realtor Marc Roos. Several tenants have formed an association called the "Our Ladies Guild House Benevolent Society".
Marc Roos Realty
484 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: (617) 236-8600
August 23, 2018
Dear Marc Roos,
We write this letter as residents of Our Lady's Guild House (OLGH) to request a thirty-minute in-person meeting with you on Saturday, August 25, at 11:00 am. This is during your regular office hours on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
We wish to discuss your refusal to renew the leases of women who are over 50 years of age at OLGH; and the no-fault eviction proceedings you have initiated against the women who did not move out by their lease non-renewal deadline.
We seek your agreement and commitment to take the following actions to redress the harm you have caused to older and lower-income women in the OLGH community:
- Immediately halt no-fault eviction proceedings against all residents who have remained past their lease ending date;
- Offer new and renewable leases with annual rent increases capped at 3% per year to all women who remain and were denied lease renewals during the past year;
- Cease all short-term and AirBnB room rentals and all rentals to men;
- Permanently set aside a minimum, but not maximum, of 20 units for women over fifty, as reparation for the mass displacement of older women that has already occurred over the past five years.
On behalf of the community that is concerned about our displacement and Boston's gentrification in general, we will also hand-deliver a petition in our support signed by over 1,000 members of this community.
Until now, individual women have been unsuccessful in their efforts to meet with you. Just a few examples:
Lydia Eccles visited your office twice requesting to make a 15-minute appointment with you. Both times, she was told you would call her to make an appointment. You did not.
Kerry Lamare asked your administrator, "Who can I appeal to?" and was told, "No one."
Adele Blank tried to approach you to talk to you about the non-renewal of her lease in the lobby of Our Lady's Guild House when you were showing the building to a prospective tenant. A male employee accompanying you jumped in front of her with his arms widespread to block her physically from coming near you. Adele is 76 years old. She left the building a few weeks ago, against her will, after a 17-year residency, because you would not renew her lease.
When journalist Jordan Frias called your office to get your explanation about the displacement of older residents, he was told that you knew nothing about Our Lady's Guild House and had no connection with the building, a fact that a quick search of city records showed to be untrue, since you are both realtor and acting landlord of OLGH.
Leigh Graham travelled to New Britain, Connecticut to plead her case for a new lease to Mother Jennifer, the Superior of the Catholic sisterhood that owns the building. Mother Jennifer was adamant that she would not discuss it, saying, "I'm done with the building!” She directed Leigh to her business partner, Marc Roos, and stated twice that he had the authority to renew the leases.
Since individual requests for a meeting with you and Mother Jennifer thus far have been fruitless, we now write collectively to ask for and to hear your answers to these questions:
Why, when we pay our rent and are good tenants, do you refuse to renew our leases?
Is this charitable property deliberately displacing older women from their homes?
We will be at your office on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM.
Our Lady’s Guild House Benevolent Society
Siobhan S. O’Connor
Other affected tenants of OLGH