Since they were forced to leave St. Andrews Residence in mid June, residents have been charged rent on their apartments. The building is owned by the Diocese of Southeast Florida. The city of West Palm Beach had declared the building uninhabitable. In the most recent letter to them from Bishop Peter Eaton residents were informed rent would be returned to them. (Saint Andrew’s Residents Letter Sept 23 FINAL PDF.) Residents have been allowed to return their apartments in stages since the early September. As more of the building is ready for occupancy residents are allowed to return.
The plight of the residents drew public attention when it was reported by the Palm Beach Post on August 5th. The Post reported residents were placed in local hotels and were still being charged rent on their apartments. Particularly concerning to residents, the Post reported, was notification from the St. Andrews management company that it might not be able to continue to pay for meals.
Residents were concerned with the lack of communication from the diocese.
If the building can't be repaired and pass inspection in less than two weeks, the low-income seniors who lived there may…
The Cafe picked up the report from the Palm Beach Post on August 10. See also the thorough reporting by ENS.
The diocese has referred all communication with the media to Aimee Adler Cooke, a communications consultant.
Adler Cooke responded to an email today with questions surrounding rent on the apartments. Her reply:
A1. Yes, and all rent payments for the period of time that residents were unable to occupy the Residences are being returned.
Q2. During the time they were in hotels, St. Andrew’s paid for their hotel rooms and meals. Correct?
A2. Yes, hotel accommodations and meals were paid for.
Q3. Some residents stayed with friends and family. Were they also required to continue to pay rent? Were they compensated for their meal expenses?
A3. Yes, all residents paid rent and all rent payments for the period of time that residents were unable to occupy the Residences are being returned.
Each resident had the choice to stay with family/friends or at a hotel. Those who chose to stay with friends/family were not compensated for meal expenses.
Q4. News reports in early August say that the property managers informed residents that funding for meals could come to an end.
A4. You have received our weekly letters each week, and as you know, from those letters, the board has funded the hotel accommodations and meals.
Q5. My reading of the most recent letter is that all rent payments for the time residents left their apartments will be returned to them. Correct?
Q6. Was there a point at which the residents were no longer being billed for rent? Or did that last up until the most recent letter?
A6. While rents continued to be collected, all payments received for the period of time that residents were unable to occupy the Residences are being returned.