In Massive rent hikes, remodel renders Lake Union building ‘uninhabitable’, Daniel DeMay reports on a landlord that has increased rent 121 percent — from $1,985 to $4,387, and performed remodeling without a permit in a purposely obstructive way to force out tenants.

The owners of the property, Kurt Fisher and Brittany Shulman of Seneca Ventures, set up shell companies to manage their property so that their identity is one step removed from the harm they cause Seattle tenants. It appears that their companies are registered in other states and may not be properly licensed here. Also, it does not appear that they followed the law with regard to rental increases and construction remodeling.

Workers set up scaffolding over doorways and started pulling down siding, they piled debris in front of doorways and behind parked cars, they left doors open to the outside and piped runoff water into the building, soaking the carpets and wrecking drywall, Mainard and Regoli said. A dumpster under one tenant’s window was piled high with stinking, rotting siding. Chemical smells wafted through the halls and into apartments. Dust and dirt shook down from the tongue and groove cedar ceiling in Cindy Schmidt’s top-floor one-bedroom apartment, she said. It covered everything. “It was just so incredibly filthy,” said Schmidt, who along with her partner Alan, had opted to move out after 22 years in the building thanks to a significant hike in their rent. They were due to move out Sunday

In 2015, Fisher and Shulman were treated as the good people buying up the legendary J&M Cafe in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Commenters at the time noted that Shulman seemed classist and dismissive when talking about how the prior owner had to leave downtown for Lake City. But, suddenly the J&M Cafe is being flipped allegedly to prevent foreclosure. But Fisher, appears to have a history of fix and flip properties.

The Dexter property mentioned in the article is owned by a Delaware corporation, Westlake Trilogy LLC, and governed by MDI West which call itself, “The Nation’s Fix & Flip Capital Partner.” And, Seneca Ventures on its website acknowledges ownership of the building. So it follows, that Fisher and Shulman are either using or working with these sub-corporations to avoid liability or tarnishing their PR and wrecking their public reputation in Seattle.

If you need help with a tenant landlord issue, please consider calling the attorney in the article, Erin Sperger at Legal Wellspring. I know her to be a good person who is helps those in need with professional representation.

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Try scheduling a meeting with his new startup Meeting Planner (https://meetingplanner.io), simpler, faster scheduling for work or play and read his series about building it). Follow @reifman on Twitter.