By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,595)
Tenants of Back Bay Tower gathered this afternoon in the secure lobby of the almost 35-year-old rental building to talk about the excessive rent hikes that loom in their future. Many saying the excessive rent increases blindsided them and they were stunned and unprepared for them. Tenants said hey are left with few options for the future and they are worried – where will they move to and can they afford it?
Numerous residents were given an ultimation; sign new leases when the old ones expire with $200. to $400. per month increases. If tenants choose not to sign new leases, they have 30 days to leave their apartments in this luxury high rise. This choice in a rental market at its lowest vacancy rate ever was upsetting to many mhn.com spoke with. Excessive rent increases will force them out of the secure building – possibly in some cases forcing tenants to break just renewed leases at this 16 story building. “I’d have no choice but to break my lease,” said one tenant. “This rent increase is not sustainable for me.”
Another young couple has lived in the building for ten (10) years in a two bedroom apartment.The couple was recently notified that beginning on June 1st, their rent will go up from $1,300. to $1,700; an increase of $400. per month. “We have signed a lease, but we’ll have to break it,” said the husband. “We can’t absorb that amount of rent.”
“The City of Portland only wants people living here who earn in the six figures,” said one resident who will be forced to leave the building if a rent hike goes into effect in the fall of 2016. “The only thing one can rent in Portland is a dump for $1,000. a month. Like up on Munjoy Hill.” With all of the extra fees imposed on him and his working wife, the couple is paying close to $2,000 per month. A rent hike will bring them to over $2,000. which will force them out of this luxury building.
According to the friendly wife of the security guard at the building, it doesn’t matter if people leave here. “There will always be others to take their places. Our vacancy rate is low here. We always have a waiting list to get in here.” She was doing laundry in a room off the first floor lobby as she discussed the situation at the upscale building. Shortly thereafter, MHN.com was escorted from the secure lobby of Back Bay Tower unceremoniously by the security guard himself, despite still using a cane because of a healed broken leg. MHN.com spent several hours in the building lobby talking to numerous residents, despite the lobby’s security measures in place. The high rise is located in a less secure neighborhood of Portland.
There is no good news here for tenants in the City where a sham Housing Committee, chaired by Councilor Jill Duson. The Committee has ignored the crises that faces renters in the city. With no protections for tenants in Portland, the higher the abuses of the general publlc will continue to go. There are steps the city could take to ease the crises in which many renters find themselves, but the City continues to ignore them. Portland continues to serve only the real estate industry rather than all of its citizens.