Friday, October 11, 2013

Next fight - Rent Control

At the retirement community I live in, we own our homes but rent the land.  Our monthly fee includes that rent plus amenities like lawn mowing, shrub trimming, snow plowing and shoveling, as well as use of the clubhouse facilities, gym, pools etc.

When you join the community, you start out at a set monthly amount which increases every year based on a cost of living indicator - I forget which figure is used but it doesn't matter - it's the same percentage for everyone.

That doesn't mean everyone's rent is the same.  Someone who came here in 2000 is paying more now than then, but they are still paying less than I am because we came in 2005.   There are people who came after us who are also paying less because starting rents were lowered to encourage sales during the economic recession.

I'm not unhappy about that.   I made an agreement in 2005 just as some other people made in 2000 and still others made last year.   My rent has only changed in accordance with the inflation indicator set out in that agreement.  I have nothing to complain about.

Some residents see it differently and would like to even the rents out - bring up the lower rents and lower the higher to an equal amount.  Apparently they have asked the town to intervene in this matter.

 I am not a lawyer, but I can't see how that is possible - I have a contract that sets my base rent and so does the person who bought in 2000.  I don't see how the town has any right to break our contracts.

These petitioners also want the town to impose rent control, which would eliminate the inflation clause in our contracts.  Again, I can't see how the town can do that, but there is a hearing scheduled next month on that, so somebody must see it differently.

I do NOT want rent control. 

This community is not low priced.   It's not "millionaires row", but it's not a low end trailer park.  Our homes are "manufactured" homes and did not cost millions of dollars, but they weren't cheap either.  

There is nothing cheap about the amenities we also enjoy here.   I may complain about the quality of the yard maintenance and how well my driveway and walkway were cleared off snow and again how neatly the bushes were trimmed, but those things are being done.   I may want to see a 55 inch TV instead of the 42 inch that is in the room we use for our computer club meetings, but we do have a room and we do have that TV.   We have a  gym, a basketball court, two outdoor pools, one indoor and much more - this is a nice place and it takes money to keep it nice.  My fear is that rent control that limited the profits of the owners would endanger those amenities and services.

I'll be going to that meeting and intend to speak against interference.

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