‘It’s not humane:’ Vacate notices delivered en masse to Newport apartment tenants

Long-time tenants are concerned they won’t be able to find an affordable place to live in time.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 4:59 AM EDT
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UPDATE: The City of Newport said Wednesday the Brighton Center has established a housing hotline at 859.491.8303 to provide resources and assist Victoria Square residents in finding new housing. City officials have also been in contact with the developer to provide resources to help displaced residents.

“The City of Newport remains extremely concerned about the welfare and well-being of our Victoria Square residents and have been closely monitoring the situation.”


CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - Tenants at an apartment complex in Newport received vacate notices Tuesday, giving some months, others weeks to find new homes.

Judy Kappas has lived at the Victoria Square Apartments for 58 years.

“I understand that they had the right to do this,” Kappas said, “but it’s not humane what they’re doing.”

Kappas is one of several dozen residents of the apartment complex who found out just last week that the property had been sold to a new owner.

The new owner, Sunset Property Solutions, will soon start construction on the complex, which sits in the shadow of what eventually will be 25-acre mixed-use Ovation development on the banks of the Ohio and Licking rivers.

Construction will proceed in two phases, giving some existing tenants 60 days to vacate. Others have until the end of January.

Kappas is among the latter group. She says even that’s not enough.

“It’s sort of devastating thinking that you got to leave it as this... Being down here all my life, where would I go?” Kappas wondered.

Mariah Norris has lived at the Victoria Square Apartments for two years.

“What is it going to take for people to open their eyes and realize we are human beings too? We are human beings,” she said.

An SPS management spokesperson says they will be honoring the leases of those who have year-long lease agreements. The spokesperson stresses SPS is giving month-to-month renters minimum 60 days notice.

Kappas and Norris are both month-to-month renters, faced with finding new places to live amidst an unprecedented rise in local rents.

“Some of these people are seniors on assistance,” Norris said.

SPS management did refer tenants to other local apartments, but tenants say when they called some of those places, they were told they would face long wait lists or no availability.

Kappas is worried about finding an apartment big enough that she can afford.

“I have a lot of furniture, and large furniture,” she said. “The apartments for senior citizens are tiny.”

The City of Newport issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Victoria Square is a private real estate investment. A municipality such as Newport cannot nullify a lease agreement between two private parties. Even for residents that utilize Housing Choice Vouchers, the Newport Housing Authority does not have the power to force landlords to accept vouchers or dictate leasing terms. The lease term between the landlord and tenant governs the length of lease.

“Newport leads the region in attainable housing for families of all income levels. Newport has the most affordable housing units in all of Campbell County as well as some of the most innovative affordable housing programs in our region.

“We are sympathetic to Victoria Square residents that have been given notice that their lease would not be renewed. We will do everything in our power to make sure any and all actions taken are legal and transparent to not only the residents but the rest of our community.”

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