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'My situation is dire': Tenants of Eastman building face Monday deadline to vacate apartments

The building in downtown Falmouth.
Liz Lerner
The building on Main Street in Falmouth.

In a case drawing attention as a symbol of Cape Cod’s expensive housing market, tenants in the low-priced apartments above Eastman’s Hardware in Falmouth say they can’t find housing they can afford when the new landlord forces them out.

The deadline is looming Monday for them to vacate their apartments.

Tamsin Trow, who rents a small one-bedroom, said she pays $850 a month and may have to leave the Cape.

“The good news about staying here was the rent was really affordable,” she said. “The bad news is, the rent was really affordable, so most of us don't have first, last, security to, you know, move out right away.”

Alpha Management Corporation of Boston purchased the building and plans to renovate the 11 apartments. Tenants received notices taped to their doors in September. They rent month-to-month, without a lease.

CAI tried to reach Alpha Management for comment, but the company did make anyone available in time for this story.

Kathleen Botelho, tenant relations coordinator at the nonprofit Falmouth Housing Corporation, said affordable housing complexes have long waiting lists.

“We have to adhere to a waitlist,” she said. “Our one-bedroom list is the longest list, because that's the need. … We have Little Pond Place, one-bedrooms, and there's 92 people on my list.”

Rent for a one-bedroom at Little Pond Place is $1,087 per month, including heat, hot water, and electricity, she said.

Some tenants from the Eastman building may qualify for a government housing voucher that sets their rent at 30 percent of income, but the wait for vouchers is too long to help before next week, she said.

Trow, who is 72, said she lives on Social Security and can’t afford to pay more.

“My situation is dire at this point,” she said.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.