Residents at Durham apartments hold protest, demand better living conditions

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Dozens of people living at the Garden Terrace Apartments in Durham held signs, chanted and marched to their property owner’s home Sunday.

They demanded fair rent, prompt repairs and the ability to stay in their homes even if dealing with loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protest comes as management started making repairs at the complex in December after the city found more than 100 code violations. 

On top of maintenance concerns, resident Sheila Crawley says she was recently notified her lease will not be renewed.

She claims she was told it’s because there was suspicious activity happening at her unit.

Crawley says that is not true and that she was only given this reasoning after she complained about lack of respect and maintenance service at the complex.

“I don’t know where we’ll move to if we’re forced out. It’s so hard to find another place in Durham –it’s so expensive with gentrification. Everything has gone up, property value is like twice what it used to be,” said Crawley.

However, property owner Jonathan Dayan says residents are not telling the full story. By phone he told CBS 17 that he spoke with an advocacy group two weeks ago to address tenant concerns.

Dayan says all but five unit maintenance requests have been completed. He also says to his knowledge no one has been evicted or told to move out. 

Dayan says he felt targeted having a crowd come to his home Sunday, but says he plans to continue trying to reach some common ground. 

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