On Dec. 31, many tenants were served 30-day eviction notices which said they have to be out by the end of January. Some have already fled the property out of fear of an eviction on their record, but some tenants have chosen to stay and fight.
On Thursday evening, around 30 people gathered to protest the evictions. Some were residents at Holly Court, including children, and others were with the Tampa Tenants Union, which is standing up with the residents to demand that the owners of the complex make immediate changes. Several local new outlets were on scene as well.
The tenants demanded to stay at the complex.
Tenants pointed out that the property managers, Palm Communities LLC, have not mentioned relocation costs, or guaranteed that tenants will have their security deposit returned. They claimed the company has said they will turn off the water on Jan. 31, whether or not people leave the property.
Tenants also called on the company to fix the dirty well water that the property uses, which has been contaminated with dirt for months. Tenants are forced to purchase bottled water. They also pointed to other structural issues like electrical problems, exposed electrical wiring in homes with children, and mold.
The company has been adverse to media and organizers from the tenants union entering the property. The complex is surrounded by a black gate and lined by cameras that are monitored 24 hours a day by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Some residents have said the place feels like a jail.
One tenant who spoke said that the protest was great, but that they need people to put pressure on local officials to hold Palm Communities accountable and to give them a fair shot at staying housed.
“Let them know they can’t just push us out like this,” she said.