OCRA Negotiates a Large Rent Increase Down to a Gradual Increase

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Maxine has lived in a HUD housing unit since 2011.  After moving into the unit, Maxine started working.  Each year, Maxine reported her income to her non-profit agency landlord, as required by HUD.  Although Maxine’s rent increased slightly over the years, in March 2016, she received a notice that her rent was doubling from $409 per month to $819 per month.  OCRA contacted the landlord to discuss the rent increase and their notice.  The landlord reported that the HUD rent and income formula was programed incorrectly into the computer in 2011.  Maxine was therefore only paying 15% of her income towards rent, not the required HUD amount of 30%.  The landlord issued the notice in March 2016 after correcting this error.  OCRA confirmed with HUD housing experts that Maxine would not be successful if she appealed the rent increase decision.  A judge would in fact order Maxine to pay the entire amount of the rent increase pursuant to the notice.  OCRA knew that landlords often negotiate with tenants when there is a rent increase, so OCRA began negotiations with the landlord.  The landlord said that it was not their fault for the increase and Maxine had been underpaying the rent for years which caused the landlord to lose money.  OCRA proposed the landlord could increase Maxine’s rent by $50 each month until her rent matches the amount in the notice.  The landlord accepted this proposal and drafted an agreement that Maxine signed.  Maxine’s rent will increase gradually over seven months, allowing her to stay in her home and be able to pay her rent.