PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Dozens of people living in a North Portland apartment building are facing massive rent increases, despite many of their apartments being considered affordable housing.
Kelsey Schreiner, a single mother who rents a 2-bedroom apartment in The Prescott, received notice that her rent will increase by $403 per month, an increase she doesn’t know if she will be able to afford.
“What am I going to do? Am I going to have to leave the state? Am I going to have to pull my daughter out of school? Am I going to have to stop going to school? school?” said Schreiner.
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Although state law limits rent increases to no more than 10%, there is an exception for properties built less than 15 years ago that applies to The Prescott. And while Schreiner’s rent is protected by federal affordable housing standards, rent limits are determined by the area’s median income, which has risen significantly in recent years.
“The problem is that we have more income inequality, median incomes and even 60% of median incomes, what is affordable at this rate is still not affordable for a large number of people,” said Leeor Schweitzer , an organizer for Portland Tenants United.
In Schreiner’s case, it’s also possible his rent will go up even more because his building is part of the City of Portland’s Multiple Unit Tax Exemption (MULTE) program. MULTE properties are exempt from property taxes for ten years if developers agree to make at least 20% of the apartments affordable. This affordability requirement expires after the 10-year period.
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According to the Portland Housing Bureau, there are nearly 50 properties in the MULTE program, with several expected to reach their expiration date in the next few years. Schreiner’s building will see its affordability requirement expire in 2024.
“And what it looks like, it looks like we’re marked to market on 90 days notice,” Schreiner said. “How is anyone going to be able to endure then?”
Schweitzer thinks it’s time state lawmakers did something to make sure affordable housing is actually affordable for low-income renters.
“If we’re going to help low-income people, we need subsidized housing, highly subsidized housing, or public non-profit housing, where we’re losing money because we want people to be housed,” he said. Schweitzer said. .
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Schreiner and other tenants in his building organized and formed a tenants’ union. They asked their landlord, The Green Cities Company, to reverse the rent increases.
The Green Cities Company did not respond when asked to comment on the situation.
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