"Rent has been more than half of my take home pay for some time."

Nancy Diamond

Beaverton

Nancy is a long-time resident of her apartment complex. She is in her 60s and looking toward retirement, but with more than half of her income being spent on rent, she’s unsure what the future holds.

My name is Nancy Diamond. I’ve lived in the same apartment complex for almost 30 years. My then husband and I moved here because I was pregnant, and the apartment where we were living evicted us as children were not allowed. This was fall 1987.

When I moved here in 1987 the rent was $435/month which included full cable, trash, sewer, water, parking. Over the years rent went up, and these aforementioned services were separated from rent and charged separately. The property name changed from Ranken Square to Canyon Park, and property management companies changed as well. HSC merged into Riverstone (a national company) which merged into Greystar (an international property management company). Currently I pay Greystar $1200 for rent, Valet Waste (a mandatory waste pickup company), parking, and water/sewer/trash fee. Come June 2017 Greystar has promised a $151 increase in rent if I renew my lease for a year, about a 13% increase, and a higher percentage for shorter leases and very high percentage for month to month. The last three years the rent has been raised at a much higher rate than all the previous years. 

Through most of those years I was a single parent trying to survive on an office worker’s state salary. There were years of wage freezes, furloughs other financial hardships. I have never received more than a 4%/year pay raise in my years, most years less or none.

While I have tried to talk with the current property management company about the raises in rent, I have been told to move out if I can’t pay. The fact that I have been a long time resident, paying my rent on time, and being a good neighbor was met with great indifference and insult.

The spirit of community has waned as property management companies grown larger and larger and rents have increased. This was once a lively and communal place where I raised my daughter; lots of activities to connect neighbors. Now I see moving trucks most days, more challenges in getting to know your neighbors, and property management company keeping apartments vacant to drive up rent prices.

I am facing a housing crisis as I age. Rent has been more than half of my take home pay for some time. I am in my 60’s and trying to figure out where I could move that doesn’t take half my monthly income. I would like to remain in the Portland metro area where I have a network of friends and religious community. I would like to feel that I could give financial support to local charities and businesses but so much of my assets are going to property management company and the owners that I can’t.