Renters in Mesa say LDS church renovations are pushing them out

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

People who live near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Mesa will have to find a new place to live.

Nineteen tenants who signed month-to-month contracts and live in homes and apartments one block west of the temple were recently notified they have 60 days to move.

According to City Creek Reserve Inc., a real-estate arm of the church, that’s twice the amount of time required by their rental contract.

However, that’s not sitting well with some tenants.

Frank Ortega, 60, is not a member of LDS.

“They called a meeting and told us we all had to get out of our homes and I don’t feel really good about considering we just moved in nine months ago,” said Ortega who just married his high school sweetheart.

“Where do we live now? In this price range?” he asked. “It’s very stressful.”

He wished the property owner would’ve told him this could be a possibility before he moved in.

Now he’s preparing to move in the summer heat. Something that’s not easy since he has severe heart damage. He suffered a heart attack a few years ago.

 “I don’t have anybody to help me move and can’t afford moving costs,” he said.

In an e-mailed statement, Dale K. Bills the director of communications for City Creek Reserve, Inc. wrote, “we understand that moving is never easy, CCRI has gone beyond its contractual obligations in order to lessen the stress of ending these month-to-month lease accommodations.”

“The affected households have been offered a complete refund of their June rent upon move-out if they relocate by June 30, 2018," Bills said. "Security deposits have already been returned to the affected renters to help them with expenses they will incur to relocate."

CCRI has also offered to hold seven nearby vacant units and help tenants find new housing. 

No word on what will happen to the homes or land west of the temple yet.

“Redevelopment plans for property near the temple are still being refined,” said Bills. He expects an announcement in the coming weeks.

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Maria HechanovaMaria’s last name is pronounced HETCH-UH-NO-VAH. She joined the 3TV/CBS 5 News team in July 2017, but is no stranger to Arizona.

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Maria Hechanova

Prior to moving to Phoenix, she spent four years in Tucson reporting for KOLD News 13 and KMSB FOX 11 covering wildfires, VA transportation issues, and Southern Arizona's largest school district.

Before that, she worked for WLNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan where she learned a lot about the auto industry and almost never took off her parka.

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