Western Manor tenants are fed up with sudden rent hike

NOW: Western Manor tenants are fed up with sudden rent hike


SOUTH BEND, Ind – Residents at Western Manor apartments in South Bend are fed up with what they call a sudden rent hike. 

Residents at the low-income housing complex gathered at South Bend’s western branch library to voice their frustrations over a rent hike of up to $200.

“They gave us about 38 days for the notice that the rent was going up approximately $200 and plus electric and the entire apartment is electric, so we reckon it’ll be at least another $100 a month. So it’s essentially about a $300 increase,” Western Manor resident Shacarra Lloyd said.

Western Manor apartments is owned by Premier Management which residents say made the sudden changes as soon as they assumed ownership. The increase is expected to go into effect September 1.

Western Manor resident Summer Melville who attended Thursday’s meeting says this situation is an example of a larger problem.  

“Like she said there really is going to be a housing crisis. People are going to be homeless. I mean I have two kids and they just started Head Start last year,” Melville said.

South Bend’s 6th District Common Councilman Oliver Davis said the move by the complex's owner is shocking. 

“I got a phone call today telling me about the crisis over here at Western Manor and when I came over here to see what was going on it was shocking to realize that people, not just one, not just two, but the whole complex is in a crisis where a new company has bought out the old company and they have talked about raising the rent to astronomical numbers and it’s almost forcing the whole complex to have to consider moving out,” Councilman Davis said. 

Western Manor resident Fred Scaife said he hopes an agreement is reached soon.

“They should give us 45 days or three months something like that to try to catch up on the rent instead of in one bombshell rent goes up. $200 that’s impossible, that’s impossible for anybody,” Scaife said. 

Premier Management released the following statement:

Premier Western Manor South Bend, LLC acquired the market-rate Western Manor apartment project on June 28, 2019. The property is now managed by Premier Real Estate Management, LLC.

When considering the acquisition of the project, Premier undertook both a market study and an extensive review of the property, which had been managed by others for 30 years. During its due diligence, Premier determined the clear need for a reinvestment in the property to improve the housing conditions.

Premier takes its obligation to provide its tenants with clean, safe and attractive housing seriously, recognizing that for many tenants, rent is their largest monthly expense. To meet its obligation to its tenants and the community at large, Premier will be making a significant capital investment in rehabilitating and improving the project. While some current tenants have expressed displeasure with having received legally notified rental increases, the reality is that even with the increases, the rents remain below comparable market-rate properties.

While the new owner and management regret that some tenants may choose to move, rather than paying increased rents, the economic reality is that rents must be raised to support the investment required to correct conditions which were years in the making. It’s our belief that the investment in the property will be to the significant benefit of current and future tenants.

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