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Nov 20, 2012 9:25 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Remaining Tenants At Hidden Cove Motel Are Being Evicted

Nov 20, 2012 1:47 PM

The only two tenants still renting rooms at the Hidden Cove Motel off West Tiana Road in Hampton Bays, which was converted into a homeless shelter last fall by Suffolk County, are being evicted by their landlord, presumably so that their rooms also can be given to the homeless.

Alexander H. Roberts, the executive director of Community Housing Innovations Inc., which oversees the shelter on behalf of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS), said his organization pays LAML Realty Corp., the motel owner, about $1,200 a month per unit to house the homeless—or about $400 more per month than low-income tenants had been paying independently. LAML Realty now collects more than $33,000 a month from Community Housing Innovations (CHI), a non-profit based in Patchogue that receives funding from the county to rent 28 of the 30 rooms at the motel for those who are homeless.

Nicholas Saridakis, 63, has lived in a ground-floor unit at the 30-room motel since May 2011 and said he received an eviction notice—the second since the homeless shelter opened its doors—at the beginning of October, demanding that he vacate his apartment by November 1. He said he is now refusing to leave his humble home, explaining that he never thought it was fair that his fellow low-income neighbors were booted by their landlord last fall after the DSS decided to start housing some of the county’s homeless at the motel for about $40 a day. Mr. Saridakis, who is now being sued by his landlord, said he had been spending $700 a month to rent his apartment during the off-season, though that fee increased to $950 during the summer months.

Lisa, 48, who asked that her last name not be published, said she has lived in a unit next door to Mr. Saridakis with her 87-year-old mother for the past four years, and was given written notice on October 31 that they must leave their apartment by Friday, November 30. Lisa said she and her mother are having a difficult time finding housing on the East End that they can afford, explaining that they cannot stray too far because their doctors are located here.

Lisa said she is disabled and that her family fell on tough times due to tragedy and illness.

“If we had found another place, we would have been out of here long, long ago,” Lisa said, adding that she and her mother also had been paying $700 a month when they first moved in. She said they had difficulty paying their rent when it jumped to $950 a month in the summer of 2011, and that they stopped paying rent altogether this past spring when their landlord raised their rent to $1,140 per month. She also thinks that LAML Realty wants to push them out because CHI would pay more for their room. “This place just isn’t worth $1,140,” Lisa said. “They want all the money they can get.”

But Brian Phelps of Phelps and Associates Property Service in Holbrook, the firm that oversees operations at the motel on behalf of LAML Reality, said the owners have been more than generous in allowing the two remaining tenants to stay at Hidden Cove for the past year, even after their old neighbors were asked to leave when CHI moved in. Mr. Phelps said Mr. Saridakis, as well as Lisa and her elderly mother, are now being evicted because they either failed to pay their rent on time or stopped paying altogether.

Though Mr. Saridakis, who is retired from his job in automotive sales, admitted to paying his rent after the first of the month on a few occasions due to financial difficulty, he said his landlord never established a formal date that the rent had to be turned in. He also said he thinks he’s being kicked out because his landlord can make more money housing the homeless.

“Anything they did to move me out has to do not with how they think I pay the rent, but because of the grander purpose—to collect money from CHI,” Mr. Saridakis said. “It’s disingenuous to say that the late rent is of any pertinence to their decision.”

Mr. Saridakis explained that he, too, had a hard time finding housing elsewhere at such a low rate, and because of that difficulty, his landlord permitted him to remain in his apartment after he was issued the first eviction notice in October 2011. But six months later, in April, he received a notice, along with Lisa, that his rent was being increased to $1,140. Mr. Saridakis said that with the help of his lawyer, he negotiated with Mr. Phelps and agreed to continue paying $950 a month through September, under the condition that he would leave by October 1. Mr. Saridakis said he had another apartment lined up at that point, but his new landlord required a reference letter from Mr. Phelps, who refused to supply one.

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Well the did it again I do not think this story ever saw the light of day. What are they afraid of ?
By They call me (2826), southampton on Nov 26, 12 5:36 PM