New Owner Orders Everybody Out of the Greenbriar Chateau Apartments

The decent-apartments-not-too-far-from-Rice gig is up for the red-brick Greenbriar Chateau Apartments just south of Hwy. 59: According to a couple reports, residents of the buildings at 4100 Greenbriar received a letter today from Kaplan Management, notifying them they have until March 8th to leave. The courtyard-style 3-story Mansard-roof buildings, which date from 1969, will then be torn down and replaced with a “‘state of the art’ housing complex.” Renters current on their payments will be offered $250 to help pay for moving expenses, the letter said. An entity connected to InSite Commercial Real Estate bought the 3.63-acre site last August.

Photos: Apartment Guide

35 Comment

  • Wow. Looks like a nice building. Surprised they could buy it at a price where the underlying land ended up being worth what they must have paid.

  • Quickly decreasing supply of class B and C apartments in Montrose… I am kind of thinking the Heights is the next spot for the Gen-Z crowd. On the other hand, if you are abuilder, and you see the race to get all this stuff built in the next year, you have to be sweating it out. How many people can pay class A rents all of a sudden? Hanover is probably ok, Finger is too, but Trammel Crowe might be left holding the bag unless they get a move on it.

  • Reminds me of a knock I got on my door in about 1996 or 1997. My cool little apartment on Mercer Street in the park-like setting known as Bissonnet Square (or was it Plaza?) had to go to make room for a Kroger and some new apartments.

  • Tenants, check your leases carefully to see if you have any additional options, i.e. return of your security deposit, and a larger compensation. $250 is is insulting.

  • I thought purchasers took the property subject to existing leases? Maybe it was bought out of foreclosure? Or maybe the new landlord has not signed any new leases, everyone’s lease has run out and everyone is getting the boot? Or maybe the landlord is going honey badger and will pay off anyone who comlains and screw anyone who goes quietly?

    Construction of class A apartment rentals inside the loop has not kept up with demand thanks to little building during the market crash. When I rented inside the loop 7-8 years ago, apartments were offering rent concessions and low security deposits. Now, it is a lessors market and people are lucky to just find what they want inside the loop. The 1970s era garden style apartments inside the loop are going to become an endangered species.

  • That was a nice place; I had a lot of friends who lived there. One of the few complexes a student could afford to live in and still walk or bike to the Rice campus. Also, it had a surprisingly accessible roof, which was a bonus.

  • Old School: I was going to make a similar comment about the leases, but as an agent I’d feel pretty stupid if there was some way I didn’t know about for the new owner to disregard that lease :-)
    But yes, in every building I’ve ever bought/sold, the existing leases come along with it (I just bought a place and someone there recently signed a 2 year lease about $200/month under market. Damn). So if someone just moved into that property and signed a year lease, I’m not sure how the new owner is going to get rid of them. Perhaps there is some clause to only require a 30 day notice (regardless of lease) if you are buying something to demo. If not, they’ll have to ‘buy’ them out of their lease. If they have to do that, and the tenants know it, they can hold out. Imagine if you’re the only tenant in there. Seems you could get a lot before the new owner would rather wait it out.
    I have single family homes (as investment properties) that are rented, yet still listed for sale on HAR. I have people calling about them to buy and I tell them there is currently a renter in there. Sometimes they’ll say they want to view if I kick out the renter — I tell them I can’t do that. I also tell them I would never get rid of a renter even if I could unless I knew for sure someone was going to buy (and add ‘why not buy a place that has someone already in there that’ll be paying off your mortgage and then some’? :) I’ve bought single families with the idea of getting a renter in there. Buying one with one already in there seems even better :)

  • @Cody: I suspect the answer to the question is in the 9 pages of single spaced 8 point font on 8.5″x17″ paper standard lease agreement that all the apartment complexes use. I would bet that there may be a clause giving the landlord the right to dump the tenant if the property is sold. I do think that if there is a foreclosure, the tenancy is completely destroyed and the tenant can be booted. I know some people who have been caught on the tenant side of that situation. But, I am pretty sure that in a straight sale, the buyer takes subject to the existing lease. (Don’t ask me what happens if there is an evergreen provision in the lease.) I am pretty sure Ainbinder had to wait for everyone’s lease to expire to demo the apartments for the strip mall to be built across the street from the Heights Walmart.

  • I’ll have to look at the lease I use (standard TAR which I’ve read it 100x) to see about any ‘if property is sold…’ provision. I suspect it’s going to be something in the property code vs. in a lease.
    I realize the buyer is likely hot-to-trot to knock it down but why not just cash flow for a bit till those leases run their course? My largest building will likely be a land play someday, but if I were a developer and I really wanted it (but didn’t want to build just yet) I’d buy it and let the tenants pay off some of the purchase price while I waited to build.

  • The landlord was generous. They only needed to give 30 days notice to close the units and they are not required to give any money to the displaced tenants over and above refunded security deposits.

    But I have to admit, I’m surprised too. Its not easy to justify redeveloping a site that already has about 40 units per acre on it.

  • @Niche: Actually, if it is a foreclosure, the purchasing landlord has no obligation on the security deposits. Tenants have to look to the broke former landlord (I wonder who wrote that section of the Property Code). Holdover tenants do get 30 days (can take 90 to get them out via eviction). But I am pretty sure that if you buy in a straight sale you are bound by the seller’s lease obligations and can be liable for wrongful eviction/breach of the lease if you try to bounce the tenants during the term of the lease. I would not be surprised if the landlord was having tenants sign a release for that generous $250 moving expenses.

  • The standard Texas Apartment Association lease does not give the owner the right to cancel the lease in the event of a sale.

    If the land value is approaching the as-built value, however, a smart landlord is going to put a clause in the lease that allows for a 30-day termination. At the complex I listed above, that was exactly what happened. The landlord had a cancellation clause in the lease for years before the property was sold to a developer. Some tenants may be turned off by it. It may have some affect on the rental rates. You have to weigh the pros and cons. Every situation is different.

  • Kinda scary. That’s going to mean a few hundred more people searching for affordable housing in the Montrose area.

  • Thanks, Bernard. I was wondering how that issue was handled. I am pretty sure the law in Texas is that you take subject to the lease. But, my knowledge of that issue comes from another state where a well known TV personality would by up apartments to convert to condos (substantially rennovating and upgrading the condos) and was infamous for his tactics to get the renters to leave before their lease was up. Best story is temporarily switching out AC duct work to blow paint fumes and dust into the renter’s apartments while rennovating other units.

  • darogr Kinda scary…
    Not for me :)
    But to Old Schools previous point, I think it’s true that the older ‘garden’ style late 60’s apartment buildings in Montrose will slowly go away. Though I can’t see the return on some new projects being better than what the owners are already getting, so the rate at which they’re going suprises me (there is a reason I’m trying to get as many as I can).
    I mean (to TheNiches point), the place in this story seems to be pretty maxed as far as income on that land. Sure they can get more if they build new but they’ll have the cost of the purchase + the cost of demo+rebuild (plus the “cost” of loss of income they’d otherwise get if they left it). This doesn’t seem to make good financial sense (buying it, yes. buying it to knock it down, no). Then again, Id assume the people forking over that type of dough have ran the numbers and know more than I do.

  • My gut leads me to believe that there would almost have to be some kind of special circumstances going on that we’re not privy to. Maybe a pre-sale agreement, maybe some foreign capital desperate for a safe haven. I don’t know for sure, but there has to be a back story.

  • From darogr:
    Kinda scary. That’s going to mean a few hundred more people searching for affordable housing in the Montrose area.

    Well, the ones with jobs. Note the “tenants who are current…” which indicates some may have lost their jobs and are paying their rent with their unemployment checks. Not a good “employment reference.” As for finding affordable housing in the Montrose area, well, there is some. But the residents of Greenbriar Chateau are in for a shock. For most of the landlords in the Montrose area, the ones that offer “affordable housing” the word “maintenance” means a coat of KILZ before repainting to cover up the mold, patching the roof, and listing a pager as the “emergency maintenance number” which of course they never check. On second thought, unemployment is not really a problem. Most landlords don’t really check. Which is how the rest of us end up with living next door to the crack dealers and the prostitutes driving the BMWs. The landlord’s motto in Montrose seems to be “You got the cash, you get the keys…” It is a landlord’s market, however, for the one bedrooms under $1,000 a month in Montrose. But, well, you get what you pay for. Which is why so many choose to pay $1,000 or more. So they don’t have to worry about mold and unresponsive landlords and crack dealers and prostitutes living next door. Hence, all the sudden interest in development in Montrose. Which is good for developers. Not necessarily good for Montrose. Which will just see the older complexes turn into slums. The landlords have to keep the places rented until the developers come knocking on their doors.

  • There is a fairly reasonably priced complex right around the corner form these apts. It’s The Boulevard 2440 North Blvd. Nice staff, great maintenance and very quiet. Mostly Rice students and employees. I’ve lived there over a year and am happy.

  • Matt Mystery: I totally agree. You’ve described every landlord in Montrose. No one takes care of their buildings and they all try to screw over tenants every chance they get. And what’s up with everyone using pagers? It’s disgraceful!
    FDM: I’ve gotten a few calls from tenants at Greenbriar Chateau. You’d think with 10k units in Montorse that a few hundred could be easily absorbed. The problem is the occupancy rate is near 100% at most complexes so that few hundred tenants might represent a giant % of available units.
    Out of all our properties, we have one unit open, and that’s only because the girl that put a deposit on it last month took a job in Austin so bailed on it. And even that unit will likely get nabbed today. I do agree that it’s a owners market — however those owners still have to compete for the good tenants using price, or amenities. The junky buildings will still get rented but the owners just won’t get the rent they could otherwise.

  • We just got our first approved applicant from the Chateau.

    Seems FindIt Realty is “johnny on the spot” and is currently scouring the area for 70 new clients of theirs…

    As an update – residents of the Chateau get their February rent back if they move out by the 20th.

  • JE: Ezer! FindIt has a lot of “locators” that spam craigslist in hopes of catching people that are looking for actual apartments. Then they say “Well that place you saw isn’t really a place. But if you tell me what you’re looking for I’ll look at for you and get a $500 commission for driving you over there”

  • “The Chateau” is even today still being posted as available on HAR
    Why, why, why, Delilah?

  • Generally, a new owner is bound by previously existing lease contracts, whether the owner acquired the property by sale or foreclosure. If the tenants’ leases have a sixty day notice requirement (which is standard these days), I don’t think Greenbriar Chateau can legally evict anyone for not moving out by March 8th.

  • I’m frustrated that the new owner should have left me and all my neighbors alone! I’ve lived here for three almost would’ve been four years June 14th, 2012!!!

  • Actually, the new owner has the right to just close down with 30-day notice to the tenants since he is not going to rent the apartments to anyone. That’s the loophole he is using to get everyone out in a short time.

  • Well my Mom just found out last week while she was here visiting me? That the Greenbriar Chateau got sold to the “NEW OWNER” (Kaplan Management.) and all my neighbors and I got shafted badly!! :( Ugh!

  • Susan: What gives the new owner the right to close with 30 days notice? I don’t see that in the lease or the law anywhere.

  • David: I was wondering the same thing. I recently bought a building where the large unit was leased (a month or so before I closed) for about $200 under market on a 2 year lease. If I were a bad guy I’d love to find a loophole to void that lease and get that unit up to market rent (as the lower rent in just that unit will cost me about $5k over its term). But yeah, as far as I know if you buy a building you get the leases as-is (for good or for bad)

  • Fustrated: I’d bet there are 100 apt building owners passing out flyers for units for rent (that’s what we’d do if needed). Add HAR and Craigslist and you should be able to find at least a lateral move or maybe even something better.
    Moving sucks, and being forced to move sucks more, but if you take a weekend to look around you’ll find something.
    Pro tip: bring a check or cash for deposit with you so if you see something you like you can take it on the spot. So many times we’ll have someone come by to view, then contact us days later and say they want it only told told its gone. There are always units for lease, they just tend to be taken quickly. When you tell someone ‘I have other places still to look at’ they hear ‘I’m not interested’. Which is fine as long as you don’t expect it’ll be there later

  • I signed my lease in January 2012! That won’t expire until Jan. 2013.

  • frustrated: can you shoot me an email? I’d love to talk to you more about this. Maybe I can help, but my own curiosity is killing me as to how they think they’re able to terminate these leases.
    I’m sure these people know what they’re doing and looked into the ability to do this before sending out some notices but there still might be something to protect the tenants. At minimum, maybe you can get more than just a $400 moving credit and a slap on the ass.
    My email is: codymail at gmail

  • @Cody: My email is

  • I’ve been in Greenway Court Apartments for a month now! :)I love my new home its just as nice as Greenbriar Chateau Apartments! LOL

  • #247- what’s the story, then?

  • I drove by the property yesterday. Nothing but a big pile of rubble.