Janice Gilliland loved her apartment in a gated community next to Canterbury Park in Shakopee, where she’d lived for three years. She intended to stay for the rest of her life.
“She planned on leaving out of here in her urn,” said Jessica Gilliland, her daughter.
But along with dozens of other residents, Janice Gilliland, 73, was told she would have to move this winter so the Doran Group, developer and owner of the Triple Crown Residences at Canterbury, could replace the sprinkler system there with one that will last longer. Residents would have to move into the new building next door whether they wanted to or not, since they had all signed a “relocation addendum” contained in their lease.
“All a lot of people want to do is get out of this lease and move on,” said Jessica Gilliland, whose mother received an eviction notice in January after objecting to the move and trying to end her lease. “But they’re not letting them do that.”
Many residents, including some who moved in just months ago, say the new building’s apartments aren’t comparable to their existing units in the complex billed as “redefining luxury in the southwest metro.” They say the new units are smaller and rent for higher prices, which they will have to pay when they eventually sign a new lease — and that Doran Management has communicated inconsistently about the inconvenience.
Doran, however, says it has communicated clearly about the situation. The company offered free moving services or a $1,000 rent credit to residents for their trouble, said spokesperson Tonya Tennessen.
“Landlord will make an effort, but will not be required, to offer a comparably-sized unit that is on the same floor as the resident’s current apartment,” the relocation addendum says.
Tennessen said residents could “provide input” into the selection of their new unit. The new units are “not identical” to the older building, so some people gained or lost square footage. But if a renter’s new unit is more than 50 square feet smaller, Doran decreased rent.
The company understands the situation is “not ideal,” Tennessen said, but is offering residents a “unique opportunity.”
“As we have just opened our second luxury building within this gated community, it is the only time in the life of the community that we are able to offer every single affected resident a brand new, gorgeous, luxury apartment to transfer into,” Tennessen said.
Daniel Suitor, a housing attorney with Home Line, a renter’s advocacy organization, said the organization has advised dozens of people from Triple Crown about the impending move. Many residents “feel lied to” because the company is invoking the relocation addendum. Not everyone reads their entire lease, he said.
Suitor said he feels bad for the residents and that moving is tough. But he said Doran’s actions appear to be legal and in line with the lease terms to which tenants agreed.
“I’m a tenant rights guy — I’m on the tenant’s side 99.999 percent of the time,” he said. “[But] I think, based on just the terms of it, these are pretty fair relocation addendums.”
Suitor said many Triple Crown residents previously owned homes and are used to having more leverage. The only way out is if Doran and a resident can’t come to an agreement and the company terminates a resident’s lease, he said.
“The illusion of landlord-tenant law is that tenants have any power,” he said. “It’s a little bit of, like, this is how the other half lives.”
Suitor is representing Janice Gilliland in her eviction case, arguing that any time a landlord has the right to terminate a lease, the tenant has the same right. His comments were made before he agreed to represent her. Gilliland declined to comment through her attorney, citing her ongoing legal case.
The Triple Crown Residences in Shakopee is a gated community offering “townhome-like” apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units.
There are two sides to the first Triple Crown building. A-side residents have to move before construction begins in February, according to a letter from Doran, though they confirmed the sprinkler replacement will happen “throughout the current building.”
The letter said the company does “not yet have a plan or timeline” for when sprinkler work will happen on the B side of the building.
Brad King, who lives on the B side, still pays rent at Triple Crown. But he has moved into a house he owns and asked Doran to terminate his lease. They have not done so, he said.
King is suing Doran, alleging that the company’s property manager lied to him when he moved in last summer and said he would never have to move again. In fact, the company was involved in legal proceedings related to the sprinkler system problem in 2022 and knew residents would have to move, he said.
“I’m retired and I never wanted to move again,” said King, who bought new furniture to fit his Triple Crown apartment. “They knew this stuff was happening and they’ve covered it up.”
The letter from Doran said the company didn’t know when the sprinkler project would be done or the extent of repairs needed when residents signed leases.
Michelle James, who moved into the B side in 2020, pays a total of $1,515 per month for her alcove apartment, plus extra for storage space, parking and a garbage and water charge.
She loves the community of female friends she’s found at Triple Crown, along with the clubhouse, pools, gym, sauna and game room. But the company hasn’t been transparent, she said.
Some A-side residents got to choose their new apartments even before there was a formal moving announcement, but others didn’t, she said. Doran hasn’t shared the timeline for the B side’s move or details about how construction will affect residents still living there. No one has apologized for the impending move.
“It’s an unsettling feeling when they flat-out lie to people,” she said.
Several Triple Crown residents said that, contrary to what the Doran Group has said, residents could either choose their new apartment or receive the moving assistance or a $1,000 rent credit but couldn’t do both. Tennessen said that was inaccurate and that moving services or a credit were offered to everyone.