Washington CAN protests unfair treatment of apartment residents

Tenants at Kitts Corner Apartments claim management has discriminated, charged high fees

Residents and former residents of Kitts Corner Apartments in Federal Way are claiming they were unfairly discriminated against and charged unnecessary fees by property management.

About 15 protesters expressed their frustrations with the complex, 1201 S. 336th St., during a demonstration hosted Wednesday morning by Washington Community Action Network.

One of the speakers during the peaceful protest, Malena Gaces, said property management told her and her family their lease would not be renewed, and the management did not provide a reason for the decision.

They also charged her $2,600 and refused to return her $700 security deposit, resulting in her owing more than $3,000 to collection agencies.

Gaces said she was told she would receive a letter explaining why she had been charged such a large fee after she moved out in March, but has yet to see any written explanation.

The event hosts Erin Fenner, Ashley Cormier and Xochitl Maykovich, all from Washington CAN, delivered a letter to the property management office during the protest, expressing the tenant’s concerns.

“You and each of you are hereby notified that your practices of charging tenants arbitrary move-out fees and refusing to make basic repairs must end,” the letter reads in part.

Property management at Kitts Corner declined comment.

The goal of Washington CAN is to have stricter regulations to protect tenants so situations like this are less frequent in the future, event organizers said.

Washington CAN has asked the Federal Way City Council to pass a rental inspection ordinance.

“If passed, the law would provide summary proceedings options for tenants, giving them the ability to hold their landlord accountable at no extra cost to the city,” Washington CAN said in a media release.

Tyler Hemstreet, the city’s communications coordinator, said the Revised Code of Washington already has provisions in place to provide guidance in matters between tenants and landlords.

“At its core, this is a private matter between a tenant and the landlord,” said Hemstreet, citing RCW 59.18, which outlines landlord and tenant laws in the state.