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City Heights rent increase too much for families to afford

Posted at 3:44 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 19:49:09-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Families are moving out of a City Heights apartment complex after their rent increased significantly under new management.

Tenant Sandra Vera said she's lived at Marlborough Plaza for a year and after Constellation Management bought the property her rent jumped 57 percent.

Vera, a single mother with an 11-year-old son, says they have to move because of the rent increase.

She asked her son, "What are we going to do?"

Vera explained her concern over finding an affordable home with good schools and work opportunities nearby.

The same situation plagues other families. One woman showed 10News how her rent jumped from $1,075 to $1,875, a 74 percent increase.

The management company responded to 10News' request for a statement, saying the low rent was "too good to be true."

The building was purchased off of an estate that took many years to resolve in probate as the deceased had no spouse or children, I believe. As with any situation when a building owner passes away and nobody to care for it, maintenance and reasonable rent increases were not kept up with. Because of the long-term ownership that preceded us, many expenses like the mortgage and property taxes were tremendously low which resulted in savings the previous owner was able to pass along to the tenants. Whether this was done out of indifference or a kind heart, it allowed the tenants to enjoy a rent amount that was far below what it actually takes to operate housing in Southern California for many years. As shocking as the rent increase are as a percentage change, the underlying rent would have been characterized as “too good to be true” by anybody. Now that a new owner came in, we were left with a long maintenance to-do list, new prop-13 taxes, and a reasonable mortgage for the property’s size. The new rents reflect the bare minimum to operate this property at the new expenses. Of course we will offer reasonable accommodation to any tenant that asks; including moving assistance for those physically unable, a transfer to any one of our other properties that may be more suitable in size or price, and the ability to step up to the new rent over time or some free rent up front in a remodeled unit once the property gets updated a bit. As our yelp reputation precedes us, we are reasonable and fair. To add some background about the investment firm, our entire staff is a staff full of renters. In fact three people in our office, myself included, have recently located to La Mesa because Downtown and North Park rents became unaffordable. The housing shortage is something we are all dealing with and everybody deserves safe, clean, reliable housing. We’re working to deliver that on Marlborough, and I can assure you it’s something the residents weren’t getting before. As far as $1,000 two bedrooms go, there’s just no such thing in America’s finest city, possibly not even within the state anymore.
Constellation Management

Vera says she understands the new owner's side, because they need to remodel; she just wants what's best for her son. She said if she had the extra cash, she would spend it on her son and help them eat better.

In California there are no state rent control laws. The only thing protecting a tenant is a lease, once it's up, tenants are at the mercy of their landlord.