Amy Duke, a resident of Primrose Lane Apartments in Bishop, was served a 60-day eviction notice on Monday, September 16. The notice came certified mail from the property manager, Bishop Real Estate Rasmuson & Associates—she wasn’t given a reason for the eviction, she said.
Duke is one of many residents who’ve received eviction notices and one of many residents The Sheet has spoken to over the past few weeks. Duke, however, was the only tenant willing to speak on the record.
“There was no reason stated on the notice and when I asked, they refused to give me one. My rent is paid up, so that’s not it. I was never given any notices regarding the dogs, so that can’t be it. It’s very shady,” said Duke about the eviction notice.
The Primrose Lane Apartments are located at 2230 North Sierra Highway, within the County of Inyo, on the outskirts of the city. According to Duke, a 17-year resident, the complex was built in the 1970s. Currently, eight of the apartments are empty and some are red-tagged.
The complex has a total of 28 units.
The property changed ownership on July 24, 2019. Before the ownership change, Duke said she was paying $800 per month. After new ownership took over, she received a notice to increase her rent to $1,200 per month beginning on December 1, 2019—a 50% increase. The rental increase notices were issued on September 3.
According to a grant deed document from Inyo-Mono Title Company, the new owners of Primrose Apartments, LLC, are a Wyoming-based limited liability company. Individual names of the owners were not listed.
According to the grant deed, the Primrose Apartments were sold by The Gerard J. Brown and Leona E. Monozon Brown Trust. PRICE?
After three phone calls to Bishop Real Estate – the first call on Friday, September 20, the second call on Tuesday, September 24 and the third call on Wednesday September 25 – a press release was issued by the property manager.
The owners of Primrose Apartments, LLC stated in the press release that they had plans to initiate a $500,000 remodel. “It [the property] had a lot of deferred maintenance, and in general did not meet our standards for quality of living. We have been working closely with the relevant departments in the county to bring back the building up to date and completely remodel it.”
Among the improvements contemplated:
• Access control to the building by installing a new electric gate
• Pedestrian gate with keypad access
• Add lighting to the parking lot
• Build a new trash enclosure
• Install a new roof on the entire building
• Completely remodel all units with granite counter tops, recessed lighting, fans, AC, new waterproof vinyl plank floor, new bathrooms with new vanities and showers, new stainless-steel appliances
• Install new windows
• Change all electrical panels in all apartment units and bring them up to current code
• We have reopened the pool, so residents can enjoy it
• Replumb the entire building with new copper lines
• Get the second well, functioning
The press release did not reference the eviction notices, nor did it mention the current infestation of mice and roaches and how that would be addressed.
The prospect of future improvements is of little consolation to Ms. Duke, who doesn’t know what the future holds. “I don’t know…I’m a single mom with a son that lives with me,” said Amy Duke, while referring to her 16-year old son, Andrew. Amy also has two dogs, which “are my certified emotional support animals for my anxiety and severe depression,” she said. “There is no-where to go–no places to rent in town. My son and I both have jobs in town, and he goes to Bishop High School. Our life is here, we can’t just move elsewhere,” said Amy Duke. She believes the the main goal of the owners is to potentially have the whole apartment building evicted, because they “want to remodel and raise the prices,” said Duke.
While Ms. Duke believes the recent passage of Assembly Bill 1482, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, gives her some protections in regard to tenancy and rent stability, fact is, those protections are largely irrelevant if and when properties change hands, particularly if there is no long-term lease in place.
But the fact is, if there’s no rental agreement in place, new owners can evict tenants on month-to-month leases within 30- to 60 days.
Duke said it hasn’t always been like this.
“When I moved in, it was a nice place to live,” she said. At that time, Sam Walker was the owner, and the on-site managers were a couple who did routine maintenance. At that time, the apartments “had BBQs on the lawn and a family environment,” and they [owners] “changed [the] carpet when someone moved out,” said Duke.
However, the property has gone downhill in the past decade since Gerard Brown purchased it. Duke said Brown “refused to do repairs or put money into the budget,” said Duke.
If tenants wanted something fixed, they’d do so out of their own pockets.
The main issues that are faced at the Primrose Lane Apartments are “the disrepair, the complaining and how we are getting retaliation, and the way they are evicting people—there is nowhere to go,” said Duke.
In Duke’s apartment, the carpet is way older than her son, there are problems with the oven, garbage disposal, exhaust fan in bathroom (all do not work), dangerous wall heaters in all rooms that are a fire hazard and a breaker box that is critically out of date, said Duke.
Have we mentioned the mold?
Duke said a fellow tenant recently had raw sewage spewing out from a broken pipe in the floor. When the water stopped, the tenant received a text message from Bishop Real Estate that “the leak must have fixed itself.”
Duke maintains a plumber from Dean’s Plumbing and Heating called the apartments “a ticking time bomb,” when referring to the entire plumbing system.
Then there are the rodent and pest problems. At one point, Duke said an exterminator came (once-in-a-while) for a month, but possibly didn’t get paid, she said. His advice: Buy traps
The pool? There was “black stuff” in it. When people recently came to clean it out, they wore hazmat suits.
So ultimately, there are two Primrose Apartment scenarios. Neither work for the current tenants.
Live in a dump at a price one can afford, or have the dump cleaned up so you can’t afford to live there.