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WESTLAKE, Ohio - Some tenants living at the Barrington Apartments in Westlake believe they are being subjected to an unfair rent increase.
Arvette Reese said she's lived at the complex for 9 years, and is now facing a rate hike of more than 30%.
It's being imposed by APM Management, which took over the complex just last year.
Under Ohio law, the rate increase is completely legal. Ohio has no rent control laws of any kind. Landlords and property owners are free to make changes in rent during lease renewals as they see fit.
But Reese told News 5, the rent increase will force her, some senior citizens, and other residents to move out.
She said she understands that prices go up, but believes more could be done to spread out the rent hike, which could cost her an additional $300 a month.
"Anywhere from $200 to $300 extra dollars a month, on a fixed income, how are you going to survive on that," said Reese.
"I'm personally looking at a 34% increase in my rent, which I think is unheard of," said Reese.
Tim Reed is a single parent, who has been living at the complex for three years.
Reed is concerned he'll have to move, and potentially have to take his daughter out of Westlake schools.
"I think it's price gouging us, and no it's not fair, especially to people who have been here for years," said Reed.
News 5 contacted APM Management about the upcoming rent increase and it said it is simply adjusting its rent to market value, based on other rent rates in Westlake.
AMP told News 5 the rent rate at Barrington Place Apartments is still well below other rent rates at similar properties in Westlake.
The company issued the following statement:
"Barrington Place is committed to providing quality housing and an enjoyable lifestyle at affordable prices to all of its residents. Barrington Place purposely has set its rental rates below the rental rates charged by comparable properties in the Westlake sub-market."
"There are a handful of residents who have benefited from a flat rental rate for the past 4-plus years, despite annual increases in property operating expenses and ownership’s ongoing investment to maintain the property."
Still, Reese and other residents believe the management company could do more to spread out the rent increase over a number of years.
The Westlake Economic Development Department has contacted APM Management to discuss the rent increase, after getting complaints from residents.
Reese said she isn't calling for rent control in Ohio, but she's hoping Ohio law could be changed to protect tenants from what she called extreme rent hikes.
"If they want to increase it a $1,000 a month, they really can, at the end of the day," said Reese.
"This is kind of a tragedy that we are not protected as well as we should be."