Residents object to Shelby Manor rent increase
By Sarah Wojcik
Posted December 18, 2013
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — At its Dec. 3 meeting, the Township Board of Trustees approved a rent increase of $25 in the maintenance portion of Shelby Manor residents’ monthly rent, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Trustee Paula Filar and Supervisor Rick Stathakis said it was a hard decision, but they saw no alternative.
Sherri Stevenson, the regional property manager with Unified Management Services, said the building is at maximum capacity and faces an $11,000 deficit this year and a projected $62,000 deficit in 2014, even with the rent hike.
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, new tenants will pay $575 for a one-bedroom apartment and $655 for a two-bedroom apartment, said apartment manager Laurie Hepburn.
Hepburn said the base rent for the apartments are $335 and $415, respectively, and include $240 in maintenance fees for new tenants, although the longer tenants have lived in the apartments, the cheaper their rent is.
Previously, Stevenson said the maintenance fee had increased by $10. The $25 increase will cost individual residents $300 more annually and produce nearly $80,000 from the 264 residents living in Shelby Manor.
“We’re basically proposing a compromise,” Stevenson said, adding that the building’s insurance increased dramatically due to a fire that displaced around 100 senior citizens Nov. 17, 2012. “Of course, there’s (also) utilities — gas prices dollar for dollar are 18 percent higher than they were a year ago.”
The cost of replacing old roofs was $296,000, she said, and repairs to the sidewalks and parking lot cost $30,000 this year. There are also more repairs due to be completed next year.
Mary Patterson, a resident of Shelby Manor, was one of several residents who spoke against the rent increase.
“We are all very shocked, of course, because (maintenance fee increases) never went over $10 before,” Patterson said. “There are people in those buildings that can’t afford another $10, let alone $25, and where are they going to go?”
She encouraged the board to think about the senior citizens who may have to choose between rent and paying for prescriptions or food before they “try to nail” residents with a $25 increase.
“The $62,000 (projected deficit) really comes out of the general fund (comprised of taxpayer dollars),” Filar said, and added that not all residents of Shelby Manor were township taxpayers, since the senior apartments are open to all communities. “It’s just a very difficult situation and one that I feel we have no choice in doing.”
The board approved the rent increase 6-1, with the motion by Trustee Doug Wozniak and supported by Treasurer Michael Flynn. Trustee Nick Nightingale cast the single nay vote.
About the author
Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won three Excellence in Journalism awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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