San Diego

Tenants Ask San Diego Housing Commission for Help After 30% Rent Increases

Tenants of a Mid-City apartment complex shared stories with the San Diego Housing Commission on Friday about how a rent increase at their complex would alter their lives. 

Residents say Olivewood Garden Apartments recently increased their rent 30 percent or more, an increase that their low-income and senior residents cannot afford. 

Homer Howard was among the residents urging the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) to help ensure they don't lose their homes. 

"Everybody in Olivewood Garden is on a fixed income," Howard said. "I need help, it’s simple as that. I have no dignity. I have no honor, I just have to sit up here and take whatever you guys decide."

Howard said the apartment complex raised his rent twice in a matter of months. The first increase was $25, which he thought was reasonable and was ready to handle. The second increase was $125. 

"Housing is high here in San Diego and I get that. But it doesn’t have to be where it gets in this situation," he said.

The SDHC said that while they do have programs to assist with housing costs, they cannot put a stop to a rent increase if it complies with federal laws, which are based on the area's median income levels and determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The rent increase at Olivewood Garden Apartments is within these restrictions, the SDHC said. 

The agency said that they would be following up with the residents who spoke about their circumstances at the meeting Friday to see if there were any SDHC programs that could assist them. 

Last week, tenants of Olivewood joined housing advocates to urge local leaders to back Assembly Bill 1482, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which would cap rent increases at 5 percent. 

NBC 7 reached out to Olivewood for comment on the increases but could not leave a message because of a full mailbox. 

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