Tenants at an apartment building in Medford, Massachusetts, are fighting to stay in their homes after receiving notices that they had 30 days to move out.
"I was traumatized," said Liz Stack, who has lived in the building for 22 years. "You can't just throw people out of their community in 30 days. They just didn't care."
The tenants association at the Bradlee Road building says all of the residents who were month-to-month — more than half the building — were given 30 days to leave.
"You're in immediate crisis mode," said resident Liza Maloney. "And start looking for apartments."
Maloney, who heads up the tenants association, says it's impossible to find affordable housing in the area.
"I made up my mind I was going to dig in," said Maloney.
So she's fighting to stay put.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Friday evening, tenants and allies rallied in front of the building.
"Tenants should not have to do this to stay in their homes and in their community," said Medford City Councilor Kit Collins.
City leaders have worked with management to extend the 30-day window to 60 days, and longer in some cases.
But they say this is another example of property owners wanting to drive up rents, and drive out people who need affordable housing.
"We're at a landscape of unprecedentedly high housing cost increases, extreme housing scarcity, so they had this incredibly short window to move out and nowhere to move to," said Collins.
Atlas Group Management, which owns the property, says those who do have leases will likely also have to move out when their leases are up, as major renovations are needed.
"We have gone through the process of removing asbestos from the property and now have moved on to upgrading all kitchens and bathrooms," management said in a statement. "Tenants received notice that their leases would not be renewed in order to do the work."
Stack says she was so frightened by the termination notice, she immediately started looking.
She feels lucky she's found a place, but it's more expensive and 15 miles away.
"Everybody kept saying we need more time," said Stack. "We need more time to digest."
Tenants who are fighting this say they hope they can negotiate a deal with management, and they say they're prepared to fight this in court if they have to.