Raising the monthly rent by $200 on a 74-year-old tenant residing in a low-income facility for over 20 years is not only unconscionable, but foolish (“Group starts fund to assist senior citizens in Astoria,” The Daily Astorian, Jan. 2)
While managing both low-income rentals ($700 per month) and high-income ones ($2,500 per month), I learned early on that it made no sense to impose a huge rent increase on limited-income tenants. This is especially true with respect to long-term tenants who have made very few demands.
It is truly admirable that this community has people like Chelsea Johnsen, who rise to the occasion and organizes others to assist seniors in dire circumstances. However, it is the government’s responsibility to impose limits in situations where low-income tenants are essentially being told: “Go live under a bridge or someplace.”
In Oregon, the state has preempted the right of local jurisdictions to pass rent stabilization laws. In the last legislative session, the lawmakers came close to rescinding this prohibition. In the end, they caved in to the real estate lobby.
Hopefully, in the future, state legislators will see the wisdom and practicality of allowing cities and counties to offer some rental hike protections to low-income renters.