Hundreds of tenants at the FountainGlen apartment complex in Stevenson Ranch, many of them seniors, many on a fixed income, were told by apartment managers this week that rates were being raised to meet market value.
About 200 tenants crowded into the clubhouse of the apartment complex on FountainGlen Court opposite Walmart on The Old Road on Wednesday night for the “Town Hall” meeting.
Many of the tenants who moved in just over 10 years ago on a fixed income or with a low income, did so on the assumption the complex was a fixed income facility. On Wednesday, they were told that assumption was wrong.
A letter dated two days before the meeting and sent to tenants living in the building’s 272 apartments said: “FountainGlen Stevenson Ranch will no longer be requiring residents to meet lower income qualifications in order to reside at the community.
“In the past, it was erroneously assumed that such qualifications were required, but that is not the case,” the letter stated.
Zoe Solsby, vice president of the property management group Sares-Regis management group, blamed the “erroneous assumption” about low income qualification on the building’s original owners no longer associated with the complex.
FountainGlen has operated in competitive market, setting competitive market rates, Solsby said.
Rates will be raised with the renewal of each rental agreement, she said. Rate increases announced at Tuesday’s clubhouse meeting amount to a $30 increase on rates for one-bedroom apartments and a $60 increase for at two-bedroom apartment.
“We’re not trying to put anybody out on the street, and we’re not trying to take advantage of anybody,” she said, noting there’s no time limit and no schedule.
That’s not the feeling some tenants expressed in discussions with The Signal.
One senior woman who didn’t want her name published for fear of reprisal said she feels managers are trying to push the poorer folks out of the building.
“They’re going to higher rates,” said the woman living on a fixed income. “The people living at FountainGlen are on a fixed income. When I originally applied to move in, I was told that the criteria was to provide a bank statement showing I was on a fixed income.”
The tenant said she fears many tenants living at FountainGlen on a fixed income will be forced to live elsewhere when the the rates go up.
In an effort to help them with that transition and with other problems posed by the rate increase, property managers are connecting them a professional and independent “housing resource organization.”
The help group is called Overland Pacific & Cutler, Solsby said.
Since 1980, Overland, Pacific & Cutler, which is based in Long Beach, has provided what the firm considers “successful delivery of real estate” for professional services for public agencies.
The firm describes its services online as: “We offer right of way and real estate services for projects included in the transportation, housing and development, energy and utilities, and public sector industries.
“Our in-house services include program management, right of way and real estate acquisition, relocation, utility coordination, real estate appraisal, project cost studies, property management, and right of way risk management, all led by industry-recognized subject matter experts.”
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