Galt Place 01.JPEG

Galt Place Senior Apartments

Multiple residents of Galt Place Senior Apartments approached Galt City Council on April 4, claiming that poor maintenance and management have made it difficult to live at the Fourth Street development. A council member took the unusual step of speaking during public comment about his experience with Galt Place.

According to the residents, there is black mold “throughout the building,” management is often absent or hostile to residents’ concerns, some tenant deaths have gone undiscovered for days, and the rent has risen to unaffordable levels.

Andrea Johnson, who is the chair of the Commission on Aging but spoke in a personal capacity, said the speakers wanted to stay anonymous because of possible repercussions on their housing situation.

“There’s a lot of illegal things, and we have black mold throughout the building … but nothing’s been done about it,” said the first resident to speak during public comment. She claimed that management has responded to tenants’ concerns with “foul language.”

Galt Place opened in 2011 and comprises 80 one- and two-bedroom units. Co-developer CFY Development lists 28 apartment complexes in its online portfolio, including one in Elk Grove, and one in Lodi, as well as three in Sacramento and five in Stockton.

The second tenant to speak said the amenities that renters were promised are restricted or have not been provided. A later speaker said the carpet and paint are deteriorating.

In an interview on April 11, Cyrus Youssefi, president and owner of CFY, said the Herald’s request for comment was the first time he had heard of “the very legitimate complaints my tenants have made.”

Youssefi said the current on-site manager is “seriously ill” with limited mobility, which has reduced her ability to work with tenants. He continued that he is looking for a replacement and that a candidate was set to visit the location on the 11th. A new manager would review the maintenance issues, according to Youssefi.

Rent increases were a common thread in the comments before Council, with speakers questioning the legality of the rent hikes.

“We feel like we’re being gouged for one thing because our rent goes up so much, and people like us that are seniors, we don’t get very much money, so a lot of us, after we pay our rent, we can’t even afford to eat,” the second resident said.

According to a third resident, rent rose about 3% per year from 2020 to 2022, but went up 9% in 2023.

Youssefi confirmed the 9% increase, explaining it as a response to high inflation and rising costs. He said that rent at Galt Place is currently 10-20% below the limit set for low-income housing.

“The tenants are absolutely right that, for years and years, I was doing very little rent increases, but the inflation is devastating the budget,” Youssefi said.

Council Member Shawn Farmer stepped down from the dais to speak about his experience with a family member who lives at Galt Place. Though it rarely happens, council members can make public comment if they speak as private citizens rather than elected officials.

“Some of the things that I heard from the other tenants, although unfounded at this point, you can’t ignore over a dozen or more people telling you these things,” Farmer said. “These things have been going on for a long time. I’ve witnessed some of these things firsthand.”

Farmer said his wife had tried to check on their family member but was “not allowed in the building.” She gained access through another resident. “The manager doesn’t answer the phone or is not present,” Farmer said.

He added that there was a “very foul stench” in the building.

“Come to find out it was a deceased tenant who had been in there for a week,” he said.

Several residents also criticized the handling of tenant deaths and of loved ones’ attempts to contact residents.

The first resident said that, in one case, a tenant’s parents tried to have a welfare check performed, “but the manager has the recorder off, … hasn’t been in the office in months and doesn’t answer the phone.

“So they came back the next day with the police department and found their daughter in there dead. And she’s not the first one.”

Youssefi told the Herald that his staff “pretty much respect the privacy of our tenants. We don’t go knock on the door every morning and say, ‘Are you alive?’”

He said CFY relies on neighbors and family members to point out when a tenant has not been seen recently.

“Maybe I should have acted more efficiently in removing” the on-site manager, Youssefi said. “But she has been with me more than 10 years, and I like to take care of my employees, so that is my fault. I should have probably checked in the reality of the situation.”

He said that he would post the phone number to CFY’s main Sacramento office at Galt Place so that residents could call with concerns.

Youssefi began the interview by accepting responsibility for the issues.

“I am ultimately responsible for anything and everything that goes on in Galt Place,” he said.

Speaking on his own behalf before Council, Commission on Aging member Bob Balliet emphasized that the complaints remain “allegations” but said he is receiving claims of “elder abuse,” “elder neglect” and questionable rate increases from other developments for older adults in Galt.

Johnson, with the Commission on Aging, said the residents were “scared to death to speak” and asked the council members for empathy.

“None of us would be here without seniors, and our town wouldn’t be our town without seniors building it.”