Mariposa Townhome tenants speak out against rent increase

Medford, ORE–Demonstrators were clad with signs and chanting loudly outside of the Mariposa Townhomes apartment complex Wednesday, just one day before tenants are expected to pay what they say is a major rent increase.

Tenants learned back in November that their rents would increase starting March 1, 2018 as the result of new property owners.  People paying about $600 for a one bedroom unit will now have to pay about $800. Those already paying about $800 for a three bedroom unit will pay an additional 45 percent.

The increase is enough to force several of the tenants out of the complex. Jacob Nye, who has lived at Mariposa for about a year, is one of those teanants.

“No way I’m going to pay that $225 increase. Then it would be $850 for a studio apartment. That’s crazy,” Nye said.

Nye has been looking for places to live, but said he will be staying with friends in the meantime. He joined about a dozen others in signing petitions and picketing, but said he is doubtful anything would change.

“Not much you can do when they legally buy this place and give little notice before they hype the rent. It’s just crazy they’re allowed to do that to people already living there,” Nye said.

On-site property manager Matt Stranahan said he has been working with the tenants to the best of his ability, whether that be helping them find new housing or other means of being able to afford to stay.

Stranahan said he feels for the families, but said the new ownership are just doing what’s best and necessary for both the property and the tenants.

“Rents were far below market and the deal essentially was, your rent is too low and maintenance will not be done,” Stranahan said. “This was a neglected property. People don’t have functioning heater or AC units, people did not have carpet that hadn’t been replaced. Ancient, broken town homes that were not taken care of.”

Stranahan added that the increase only brought the complex to reach local market value.

“The change at Mariposa, it’s a real manifest of the much larger housing crisis that Southern Oregon is in right now,” Stranahan said.

Tenants have been working with the Community Alliance of Tenants and Southern Oregon Tenant Union to try and fight against the new owner and the new property management company, CPM Real Estate.

Supporters from the tenant groups joined Mariposa residents at Wednesday’s protest, like Lynne Likens.

“If you’re going to pay someone’s mortgage, you should at least get a little security,” she said. “[Renters] can get kicked out for no reason. These people have families, and I think that’s a disservice.”

A full statement from CPM can be found on the Mariposa website, here.

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