PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Tuesday, Jan. 31 is the deadline for some Peoria families to be moved out of Darwin Homes’ managed properties. The parent company, SFR3, bought 300 homes in Central Illinois, mostly in Peoria. Now, the company owns 11,000 properties across the country.
About 60 families in Peoria had to vacate their homes by Jan. 31, and most of those homes sit in the East Bluff.
“The city has worked to try to help the residents as much as we legally can. Unfortunately, in these situations, the landlord gave them a notice to vacate because they are on a month-to-month lease. That’s what the state statute requires for them to give a 30-day notice,” said the Community Development Director for the city of Peoria Joe Dulin.
The properties are managed by Darwin Homes.
From what Dulin understands, “Their business model is they purchase these properties, they want to get the tenant out, they want to clean it up, they want to invest some money into it, and then kinda start the whole process over,” said Dulin.
The company was supposed to issue notices to vacate to the tenants on month-to-month leases as early as last Fall. However, they delayed sending those out until November. That was until negotiations with their parent company, SFR3, and the city of Peoria gave the tenants another 30 days to prepare to leave.
“We couldn’t stop them from providing the notice to vacate or ultimately getting them to move,” said Dulin. “But any assistance or help or pointing in the right direction is how we approached it.”
Dulin said if a tenant decides to ignore the notice to vacate, the landlord still has to go through the legal eviction process. That could mean two to three more months of living in a Darwin Homes residence until the eviction process is resolved. However, Dulin noted having an eviction on your record is unwise.
While the situation is difficult for tenants to deal with, others see it as a positive way to uplift the area.
“I’m all for change. If they’re coming into our neighborhood to make our neighborhood a better place where providing affordable, decent, safe housing, I’m all for it,” said Lueshand Nunn, the president of the east bluff neighborhood housing services.
Nunn said she just hopes Darwin Homes can bring responsible new tenants into the homes.
“I hope that they have some kind of criteria set up to where they’re not just putting anybody back into our neighborhood. We want great tenants. We want tenants that are going to take care of where they live to make this place a better place to live,” said Nunn.