When the BPDA gave final approval in 2016 to plans to convert the Charlestown Navy Yard's historic Ropewalk building into apartments, the developer agreed to a condition that tenants with cars would have to provide proof they were leasing parking spaces elsewhere, since the building's grounds had no room for cars.
But in a suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday, two couples - one former tenants, the other still Ropewalk residents - charge they were never told about the requirement when they signed their leases and that their leases contained no mention of the requirement, which they say and that they found out only after they moved in and the property managers tried to change their leases by adding new parking language to their existing leases.
This, they say, violates a state law granting tenants the right to "quiet enjoyment" of their apartments and the state law that forbids deceptive advertising. They are seeking to become the lead plaintiffs in a class-action suit on behalf of other past and present Ropewalk tenants, with damages that they say "greatly exceed" $50,000.
Joe Timilty's Frontier Properties first submitted plans to turn the building, in which the Navy long made rope, into a series of 90 apartments in 2014. In 2016, the company sought permission to expand that to 97 apartments, with this proviso:
Since no resident parking can be provided on site, the Proponent proposes to include language in the apartment leases obligating residents to secure space in the area facilities.
The company said it had secured agreements with the owners of several nearby garages to offer space to its tenants.
The building opened to residents in 2021.
Madeline Walsh and Christopher Sharpe were among the first tenants, moving in in August. They say the lease they signed said nothing about the parking agreement with the BPDA.
After the commencement of the Plaintiffs' residential leases, the Defendants attempted to unilaterally amend the Plaintiffs' original leases to include the requirement that they pay for private parking while, at the same time, threatening the Plaintiffs with default under the contract (giving rise to possible eviction) if they did not comply with said parking addendum.
The suit charges this was "an unlawful, unfair and deceptive act."
The suit, which does not say where the couples parked their cars before Frontier attempted to modify their leases, also seeks damages for alleged violations of the state law on apartment security deposits.
Complete complaint (5.1M PDF).