Repairs at 3 Moiliili buildings trigger evictions of dozens of low-income tenants

Repairs at 3 Moiliili buildings trigger evictions of dozens of low-income tenants

MOILIILI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of residents, including a number of low-income tenants, at several Moiliili apartment buildings have been told to move out because the units need major repairs.

The three walk-up apartment buildings where the evictions are happening are near Coolidge Street.

There are 51 units total.

About two weeks ago, residents say they were stunned to receive a letter from their landlord, Savio Asset Management, saying tenants who rent month-to-month or have expiring leases need to be out by May 31.

"Everybody was stressed out and it's making me stressed," said resident Randy Miller.

Ray Johnson, who depends on a Section 8 rental housing voucher, says he’s going to miss his unit at the Coolidge Apartments. His rent and utilities are about $1,300 a month.

"I don't think I'm going to find anything like this again," said Johnson. "I was looking at Craigslist and they have little studios out east of here for $1,700 a month and I can't handle that."

Some families have already found a new place and are packing up.

"I guess our lease is up so they're giving us the boot," said resident Jasper Cunningham. "It didn't really matter, we found a new place just like that."

But Peter Savio, president of Savio Asset Management, said the May move-out date is flexible.

"We have no intention of throwing anyone onto the street," he said. "Our intention is to see everyone has a home."

Savio said after 13 years of running the rentals, he’s decided to give the properties back to landowner Kamehameha Schools.

He says he's already lost about $2 million under the low-income housing program, and says renovating the buildings is too expensive.

"The plumbing is 60 to 65 years old and it's starting to break," said Savio.

“If we don’t move the people out now and redo the plumbing, at some point, the plumbing is going to fail and then we’re in an emergency situation trying to relocate everyone.”

Kamehameha Schools says it's working with Savio to help affected tenants find new homes and will assist with moving expenses.

Officials say they will honor leases that extend past May.

Kamehameha Schools also said the structures on the property will be renovated, not redeveloped.

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