CHARLESTON – A Charleston woman is suing Sacred Heart Riverview Terrace Inc. after she claims it breached its contract with her and other tenants.
On May 24, 2011, Janet Kessock entered into a lease agreement with Sacred Heart to lease Suite Number 501 at Sacred Heart Riverview Terrace Apartments, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Kessock claims the apartment complex was to be used and occupied solely by individuals 62 years of age or more and, in order to move into the apartment complex, she sold her home of 40 years, as did several other elderly tenants on fixed incomes.
On Dec. 19, 2013, Kessock and other tenants were informed that the building was being converted to a condominium complex and the condominiums would be available for purchase by anyone with money to buy, according to the suit.
Kessock claims tenants who elected not to purchase their apartments as condominiums would still be subjected to rules and regulations of the Riverview Terrace Homeowners Association and in Spring 2014, the tenants were informed they would be responsible for financing one-time capital costs necessary to convert the apartment complex into a condominium complex.
On Sept. 23, 2014, Kessock and other tenants were informed that their monthly service fees were being increased from anywhere between 18 percent and 25 percent, according to the suit.
Kessock claims the monthly service fee increase was being used as a weapon to force tenants to buy or get out—either outcome resulting in a substantial profit to Sacred Heart from the sale of a condominium.
On Sept. 17, Kessock and the remaining tenants were informed that they were not responsible for approximately $200,000 in “extraordinary capital expenditures” incurred by Sacred Heart incident to the condominium conversion—each tenant’s pro-rata share would be built into the monthly service fee effective in November and could be paid in the calendar year of 2016 or stretched out, with interest, over a five-year period, according to the suit.
Kessock claims at no point did she have any input or ability to vote on the necessity of any expenditures and Sacred Heart made that decision and then sent the bill to its elderly tenants, the majority of whom are on fixed income.
Sacred Heart has breached its contract with Kessock and the other tenants and is violating the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, according to the suit.
Kessock is seeking compensatory damages and restitution of any and all moneys paid as monthly service fees the payment and receipt of which was violative of West Virginia public policy. She is being represented by Paul S. Saluja of Saluja Law Offices PLLC.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-2185