About 10 artists are continuing to use their spaces in the EMF building, despite being told that they would be evicted on May 31, according to EMF tenant Jon Glancy.
Glancy, who has rented space in the EMF building for over 11 years, says the tenants had longterm verbal leases—in six-month or year-long increments—and therefore argues that their leases are still valid. The building owner says that the verbal leases were month-to-month, according to Glancy.
Glancy says it was his understanding before the current owner, John DiGiovanni, took over the building, that the leases were in six-month or year-long installments. When the building changed hands there was little communication about what changes, if any, would be made to the terms of the leases, Glancy says.
David Katz, a lawyer whose firm, Katz Law Group, specializes in landlord-tenant litigation, says that verbal leases typically aren’t considered valid. The tenants under a verbal lease would be on “very slim legal ground” when trying to fight a lease violation, he says.
EMF’s property management company, Trinity Property Management, changed the front door lock on Tuesday afternoon, according to Glancy, who says he was told that the lock was changed for security reasons and that he could come pick up a new key.
Glancy says he received a letter saying that if the artists don’t leave the property by Wednesday they will be subject to a “formal eviction” and that the building owner will “seek money, damages,” and legal fees.
Glancy says he cannot speak for all of the artists who have been continuing to use the building, but that he plans to keep using the building despite the letter.
Trinity Property Management and Bob Logan, the building’s manager, did not respond to immediate requests for comment on Tuesday evening.
The EMF building has been an affordable rental space for local musicians for almost a decade, charging relatively low rents in a city where the cost of real estate continues to skyrocket.
Tenants were told at the end of February that they had two months to vacate the building. City officials convinced DiGiovanni to postpone the eviction to May 31. Mayor Marc McGovern and city council members attempted to negotiate with DiGiovanni further, but were unsuccessful in preserving the artistic hub.