NEWS & UPDATES

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  • 21 Nov 2022 1:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    The Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, a local non-profit organization of rental housing property owners from across the region, recently initiated their new charitable foundation with a group of volunteer events. The philanthropic arm of the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, the RHA Foundation partnered with Hope Acts and Furniture Friends for two days of volunteer opportunities.  

    The RHA Foundation first held a painting event with Hope Acts, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and resources to support immigrants transitioning to life in Greater Portland. On October 10th, volunteers from the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine spent the morning painting and touching up the interior of various spaces at the Hope Acts office on 14 Sherman Street in Portland, ME. 

    “Hope Acts is a nonprofit organization that provides support to new asylum seekers, and we house 13 people at Hope House,” explained Martha Stein, Executive Director of Hope Acts. “Thank you to the RHA members who spent a day painting our office. Considering how busy rental housing providers are, the fact that those RHA members took time out of their very busy lives to brighten our space means the world to us. As a landlord, I am looking forward to joining RHA in the near future. Thank you! 

    Following their first volunteer event, the RHA Foundation hosted a second event with Furniture Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides donated furniture to people in need throughout Greater Portland. On October 15th, RHA volunteers assisted the organization with moving and organizing furniture donations at their warehouse in Westbrook, ME.  

    “Furniture Friends is grateful for our ongoing partnership with the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine,"said Jenn McAdoo, Executive Director at Furniture Friends. “Landlords, better than most, understand the desire that all people have to create a home that is safe, affordable and offers some degree of comfort. Additionally, they are on the front lines of the affordable housing crisis in Maine and see how tenants are negatively impacted by current economic pressures, so we were thrilled to have a group volunteer with us. The volunteers demonstrated a keen awareness of the clients we serve but also lent their energy, enthusiasm and muscle to help several families receive the essential household furniture they needed to make their apartments feel more like home. Thank you, RHA! We look forward to more opportunities to work together in the future.” 

    The RHA Foundation is the affiliated charitable arm of the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine. Founded to strengthen southern Maine’s housing opportunities and to improve the quality of life for underprivileged members of the community, the RHA Foundation works closely with groups that address issues of housing insecurity and homelessness. The RHA Foundation augments the organization’s continued philanthropic work through partnerships with local nonprofits, volunteer events, fundraising initiatives, and generating outreach and awareness. 

    “We are thrilled to be able to continue our longstanding community outreach efforts through the work of our RHA Foundation,” said Brit Vitalius, President of the RHA. “As a group of rental housing providers, we deeply understand the impact of quality housing and the importance of having a place to call home. The RHA Foundation will bring our industry closer together, supporting nonprofits that serve our local communities across southern Maine. We look forward to our next roster of volunteer opportunities andthe future of the RHA Foundation.


  • 18 Nov 2022 6:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past week below. 

    November 14: Portland discusses challenges in providing shelter for asylum seekers 

    On Monday night, Portland City Councilors “discussed the challenges the city is having in providing shelter for asylum-seekers.” Interim City Manager Danielle West says one factor is Portland’s temporary and transitional housing options. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program has provided assistance to 870 people in Portland. 
    Read the full article here.

    November 15: Jones Street Secures Nearly $180M for 3 Properties

    Boston-based real estate investment firm, Jones Street Investment Partners,recently secured $179M in financing to construct three multifamily communities in both Maine and New Hampshire. One of the properties in Maine, Seacoast Residences, will be a 282-unit multifamily luxury community in Kittery.

    Read the full article here.

    November 16: South Portland votes against contributing funding to asylum-seeker housing 

    On Tuesday, South Portland City Council voted 3-2 “against providing $500,000 in city American Rescue Plan Act funding to help nonprofit Avesta Housing” in the purchase of a 48-unit housing development reserved for asylum seekers. Avesta Housing intends to purchase the Winchester Woods complex for $16 million, securing funding from MaineHousing, Cumberland County, and Portland. South Portland’s contribution would have provided half of the remaining $1 million needed. 

    Read the full article here. 

    November 17: 'We need a word stronger than crisis because that’s where we’re at' 

    News Center Maine covered the 2022 Housing Policy Conference hosted by The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition on Thursday, November 17. Maine lawmakers and housing experts from the public and private sector attended the conference working to address the housing crisis Maine is currently facing. 

    Read the full article here. 


  • 14 Nov 2022 3:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    City of Portland Results:

    Citizen Initiatives (Question A-E)

    • Question A - Regulate short-term rentals and ban corporate/absentee operation
      • 56% NO, 44% YES
    • Question B - Reduce number of short-term rentals (DSA Initiative)
      • 55% NO, 45% YES
    • Question C - Tenant protections (DSA Initiative)
      • 55% YES, 45% NO
    • Question D - Raise minimum wage and eliminate the sub-minimum (DSA Initiative)
      • 61% NO, 39% YES
    • Question E - Restrict cruise ships (DSA Initiative)
      • 73% NO, 27% YES

    Charter Amendments (Question 1-8)

    • Question 1 - Native Land Acknowledgment
      • 65% YES, 44% NO
    • Question 2 - Executive (Strong) Mayor
      • 65% NO, 35% YES
    • Question 3 - Clean Elections Program
      • 65% YES, 35% NO
    • Question 4 - Proportional Ranked-Choice Voting
      • 64% YES, 36% NO
    • Question 5 - School Board Budget Autonomy
      • 58% NO, 42% YES
    • Question 6 - Add Peaks Island Council to City Charter
      • 66% YES, 34% NO
    • Question 7 - Create Civilian Police Review Board
      • 61% YES, 39% NO
    • Question 8 - Establish Ethics Commission & Code of Ethics
      • 70% YES, 30% NO

    Statewide Results:

    • Governor - Janet Mills (D) wins with 56% of vote.
    • Congressional House - Chellie Pingree (D) wins CD1 with 63% of vote, Jared Golden (D) projected to win CD2 with 48% of vote.
    • Maine Legislature - State Senate breakdown is 20 (D) to 12 (R). State House breakdown is 77 (D) to 63 (R).


    View more results via the Press Herald HERE.


  • 11 Nov 2022 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past week below.

    November 11: Affordable housing, connectivity part of amendment to master plan of The Downs in Scarborough

    The Press Herald provided a recent update on the proposed affordable housing project within The Downs in Scarborough. At the most recent meeting for the Scarborough Planning Board, a site plan review by AR Building was approved to construct “10 three-floor multi-family structures housing a total of 120 residential units and a one-story clubhouse on a 57 acre parcel at 35 Mussey Road.” The project also plans to include “connectivity within the downtown district with trails, sidewalks, and other streets within Scarborough,” enhanced walkability, and sustainable features - including EV chargers and solar technology.

    Read the full article here.

    November 11: Maine Voices: Steps Portland must take to improve workforce housing stock

    In a recent contribution to the Press Herald, Maggy Wolf, president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization and Ned Chester, a corresponding board member, outline a list of and proposals to “improve workforce housing stock” in South Portland. In general, they call for a two-part action plan that will 1) preserve the existing housing stock that currently serves (or could serve) as long-term workforce housing, and 2) create new units to add to the supply. They also cite the city’s recent revaluation process that raised property taxes on residential units, stating that the increase resulted in “an average rise of 40% in tax bills for residential units, almost three times the increase for commercial properties. Those tax increases inevitably lead to rent increases. The city needs to mitigate the impact of the tax increase by providing rebates or subsidies to landlords who provide long-term workforce housing.”

    Read the full article here.

    November 9: Portland mayor responds to referendum results

    In a news conference on Wednesday, Portland Mayor Kate Snyder reacted to the results of the 13 referendum questions on the ballot. Four of the five citizen initiatives put forward by the DSA were defeated. Question C, however, was approved by voters.

    “Snyder says she is open to reforming the citizen's initiative process, which critics say is not stringent enough in allowing questions to go on the ballot.” Snyder was quoted in the article as saying: "We've heard from a lot of people in our community that the process isn't working right now … So I do intend to ask to have a workshop scheduled in order to go in with the council to understand the will of that body, to address changes."

    Read the full article here.

    November 9: Projected election results for Portland referendum questions

    News Center Maine published an overview of the results for Portland’s referendum questions. “According to unofficial results shared by the City of Portland, six out of the eight charter commission proposals were approved by voters, and just one of the citizen-initiatives was supported by the majority of voters.”

    Read the full article here.

    November 9: Statewide and town-by-town Maine results for Election 2022

    Access the Press Herald’s full election coverage below and official statewide and local results below.

    Read the full article here.

    November 7: Portland landlord goes to court to keep rents private

    "A Portland landlord will be in court Tuesday to challenge a provision in a city ordinance that requires detailed disclosure of rents... The ordinance requires landlords to disclose to the city current rents, any rent increases over the previous year, the reasons for those increases and security deposit amounts."

    In July 2021, the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine "argued the new law was vague and inconsistent with state and federal laws."

    Read the full article here.

  • 02 Nov 2022 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hear from Housing Providers” is a new recurring series where we sit down with current RHA members to hear from them directly on what housing means to them, what inspired them to enter the rental housing industry, and why they joined the RHA. Our first installment in the series features Ned Payne, a 10-year RHA member who takes a hands-on approach to managing his properties, caring for his tenants, and speaking out against ill-conceived policies that threaten to further limit the rental housing supply.  

    Ned Payne has been an RHA member for 10+ years, and in that time, his motivation to provide quality rental housing has only grown. Originally from Bangor, Ned moved to Portland 12 years ago. After experiencing the uncertainty that the 2008 financial crisis had on the stock market, coupled with the lack of control, he looked to put his limited savings into a less volatile place he believed in - the City of Portland.  Without any experience or handiness, he decided to test the waters of real estatebuying his first property - a four-unit on Portland’s East End.  

    What really sparked his career transition to providing housing was a burgeoning interest in repair and rehabilitation, and the ability to see the impact of a day’s effort in real-time. “When working on my first building, I realized that I found the hands-on element incredibly rewarding. I was able to see the improvements I was making - just by adding a new light or painting a wall, it can completely transform a space and make it feel more like home,” Ned explains. 

    Today, Ned owns 125 rental units in Portland, housing over 200 people. Along with the regular maintenance and care that comes along with any building, the nature of Ned’s portfolio of 100120-year-old Portland buildings means added costs and complexity for their upkeep. Despite all of this, Ned works to make thoughtful economical decisions that allow his properties to remain affordable for a variety of income levels. 

    “I want to provide safe, quality housing,” Ned says. “Whenever I’m maintaining a building, I’m investing in it. My aim is to improve the property and provide a real and lasting home for someone that can remain there for many years. 

    This commitment to doing the best he can for his properties and tenants prompted Ned to join the RHA. “I realized that a local organization would provide me with an opportunity to connect with others in this industry and learn and grow from them. My day-to-day interactions were focused on serving the immediate needs of my tenants and properties. Most rental housing providers don’t sit in a large office setting with colleagues. I was missing that interaction and collaboration with peers,” Ned says. “Our membership events allow us to learn from each other, and we all have something in common. Having in-person discussions on topics that are happening locally is, in my opinion, the most valuable benefit of RHA membership.”  

    Active on both the RHA PR and Advocacy committees, and Chair of the Enough is Enough” campaign, Ned has recently been focusing his collaborative efforts and energy on the upcoming November election to fight back against the proposed rent control measures that threaten to put rental housing providers out of business in Portland andreduce the supply of rental housing 

    “As someone who knows what it takes to create and invest in safe, quality rental housing, I’m concerned that the radical policy proposed in Question Ccombined with the current high demand for housing, rising costs and inflation, will serve only to make it more difficult for small business owners like myself to continue to invest in the local rental housing stock and do what we know best – provide rental housingUltimately, this doesn’t protect tenants, it hurt tenants.  We need to incentivize building more housing. Rent control does the opposite,” Ned explains. 

    When he’s not advocating for rental housing, chatting with his tenants, or renovating one of his properties, Ned can be found coaching youth basketball and spending time with his wife and her two boys. 

    Interested in joining the RHA? Learn more about us on our website and follow us on social media to stay informed and to hear about new member spotlights! 


  • 28 Oct 2022 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past week below and stay tuned for weekly recaps every Friday.  

    October 27: Commentary: Portland ballot question on rent control unfairly crafted 

    Jim Cloutier, a former city councilor, mayor, and housing committee member from Portland, skillfully examines the extremely troubling reality of the DSA’s “rent control” proposal, Question C, explaining how the radical measure “treats similarly situated people and essentially identical properties vastly differently.  

    Read the full opinion piece here 

    October 27: Bangor approves tiny home communities with new city ordinance 

    Following a Bangor City Council meeting to discuss tiny home developments, Bangor has now officially approved the ordinance this week. “Rents could be as low as $600 for people with assistance or as much as $1,500 for people without assistance,” according to real estate developer Louie Morrison. 

    Read the full article here 

    October 27: MaineHousing: No new U.S. Treasury funds for Emergency Rental Assistance Program 

    NewsCenter Maine provided an update on MaineHousing’s funding this week, citing that the Maine State Housing Authority does not expect to receive any additional federal funding. Back in September, MaineHousing stopped accepting new applications due to lack of funding. MaineHousing estimates that the current funding will run out by the end of next month.  

    Read the full article here 

    October 27: Maine's tallest building is taking shape 

    In downtown Portland, Redfern Properties and Landry French Construction held a topping off ceremony to place the final steel beam at a new 18-floor apartment building. The 190 foot tall building is set to become Maine’s tallest building to date. The building will include 263 apartment units, including 27 workforce units. Dan Brennan, Director of MaineHousing, stated: “all development is "good development" as our state is still in a housing crisis.” 

    Read the full article here. 

  • 21 Oct 2022 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past week below and stay tuned for weekly recaps every Friday. 

    October 19: “Landlords say proposed rental registry may drive them out of Waterville” 

    Local rental housing providers in Waterville expressed concern that a new rental registration ordinance currently being developed by Waterville’s housing committee could negatively impact the city. According to Waterville city officials, the rental registration ordinance is “meant to make sure properties are safe and that landlords can be reached easily in an emergency.” However, Waterville’s rental housing providers are concerned that the ordinance is yet another regulation that would make “doing business in Waterville too difficult for them to remain.”

    Read the full article here.

    October 19: “Progressive referendums are driving polarization in Portland” 

    A recent article from Bangor Daily News highlights the current tensions during this election season, and the opinions from some locals - including the disagreement around the referendum process, which was quoted as putting “a lot of undue stress” on Portland. “As a real estate agent and landlord, [Alex Kappelman] vehemently opposes Question C, which requires 90-day notices for lease terminations and rent increases and discourages no-cause evictions, which he said would end up being bad for renters and landlords. “It’s driving down property value and it’s causing landlords to increase rent unnecessarily,” Kappelman said.” 

    Read the full article here.

    October 18: “Rent Control Heats Up Amid Challenges From Industry” 

    Trade publication, Multi-Housing News, covered various cities and states across the nation that have enacted local legislation and ballot measures regarding rent control and their implications - including the rent control ordinance in Portland, ME.

    “Our position is that these are failed policies that go by a number of different names nowadays, but ultimately they work against housing affordability because they reduce the quality and quantity of the housing stock,” said Nicole Upano, assistant vice president of housing, policy & regulatory affairs at the National Apartment Association. The National Multifamily Housing Council also cited research that testified to the negative impacts of rent control. 

    Read the full article here.

    October 18: “South Portland Council votes to extend rent cap and eviction moratorium” 

    This Tuesday, the South Portland City Council voted to extend their emergency rent cap and eviction moratorium for another six months. If approved at the next reading on November 1, the cap and moratorium would remain in place until May 26. The emergency rent cap and eviction moratorium was originally put in place back in June, following the actions of JRK Property Holdings at Redbank Village. 

    Read the full article here.

    October 16: “ECC opens new space, fundraises for low income housing project” 

    The Equality Community Center, a “collaborative workplace for LGBTQ+ and allied social justice seeking non-profit organizations” based in Portland, recently celebrated the grand opening of their new space on Casco Street. The event also helped kick off a fundraiser to develop a new 60-unit affordable housing building to serve the LGBTQ+ community. Their current goal is to raise $4 million for the development, with $2.5 million raised so far. 

    Read the full article here. 


  • 14 Oct 2022 4:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past week below and stay tuned for weekly recaps every Friday.

    October 13: “Biddeford’s affordable housing task force delivers interim report”

    In Biddeford, the mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force recently delivered data and action items for the Biddeford City Council to consider on the topic of housing affordability. The task force was created to “review and make recommendations on housing issues facing the community,” including nine work tasks that ranged from reviewing historical data to providing a forecast of changes in affordable housing. A final report is set to be delivered on November 15.

    Read the full article here.

    October 12: “Bangor to consider tiny home developments”

    Bangor City Council is scheduled to discuss allowing tiny home developments. The proposed ordinance would allow for “tiny home developments, something the city compared to the concept of a mobile home park… with each tiny home [being] 400 square feet or less, with a lot size of at least 1,000 feet including one parking space.” The planning board is scheduled to discuss the proposal on October 18.

    Read the full article here.

    October 10: “Portland voters to consider rent control changes, ban on renters’ application fees”

    The Portland Press Herald outlines timely information about the upcoming November election and the implications of Question C, an initiative sponsored by the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. The proposed ordinance "presents complex changes that were developed without proper stakeholder engagement. It will hurt tenants by making it harder for landlords to operate, critics say." RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was quoted in the article:

    “This is punitive stuff that is so detailed and based on nothing I’ve heard to justify any of this from the DSA other than them repeating profit for landlords, affordable housing and affordable rents (are a problem) in Portland,” said Brit Vitalius, president of the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, a nonprofit representing rental housing providers.

    Read the full article here.

    October 10: “Housing is top issue for South Portland council at-large candidates”

    All four candidates running for two at-large seats on the South Portland City Council state that housing is one of the main issues driving them to run, with all four in agreement that housing is the city’s “biggest problem.” The candidates include: Richard Matthews, Steven Silver, Natalie West and Brendan Williams, with all but Richard Matthews being political newcomers. The article explores each candidate’s position on housing, including rent control and rent stabilization, new development, energy-efficient housing, and more. 

    Read the full article here


  • 07 Oct 2022 3:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past few weeks below and stay tuned for weekly recaps every Friday.

    ● October 5: “South Portland gives initial approval to allowing more in-law apartments”

    Earlier this week, South Portland City Council initially approved a proposal for in-law apartments to become permitted in all single-family residential zones. The council voted 4-0 to approve in an initial vote, with a second, final vote expected in November.

    “Councilors praised the proposal as a significant step toward increasing housing options for people of all ages, from young professionals to older adults.”

    Read the full article here.

    ● October 4: “Affordable housing plan underway for people with disabilities in Scarborough”

    A new affordable housing project for Mainers with physical disabilities may be underway, following a vote from town councilors on whether or not to grant the housing allowances. The potential project would be located in Scarborough’s planned Town Centre, and would feature 50 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant units, along with additional assistive and smart technology. Rents for the apartments would “range from $1,200 to $2,200 per month.”

    Read the full article here.

    ● October 4: “Maine’s gubernatorial candidates debate: Their answers on the housing crisis”

    Maine gubernatorial candidates (incumbent Janet Mills (D), former governor Paul LePage (R) and Sam Hunkler (I)) recently held their first televised debate on Tuesday, October 4, in Lewiston. Candidates discussed homelessness and housing, with WABI5 summarizing their talking points in a recent article.

    Read the full article here and watch the debate here.

    ● October 4: “Falmouth council explores workforce housing”

    The Falmouth Town Council will begin looking into the need for affordable workforce housing, following community input and input from councilors. A recent “Visions and Values” project was cited as the starter for discussion, along with data from MaineHousing. The Visions and Values report stated that “60% of residents support more affordable housing for lower- and middle-income residents,” whereas “20% of residents felt strongly that Falmouth should aim exclusively on preserving and enhancing existing home values.” Councilors will continue to discuss environmental considerations and zoning in the weeks to come.

    Read the full article here.

    ● October 3: “Bangor will consider strengthening tenants’ rights to combat rent increases”

    In Bangor, the City Council’s government operations committee is scheduled to consider an ordinance next week at its Monday night meeting that would require rental housing providers “to give 60 days’ notice for any rent increases, cap application fees and reaffirm anti-discrimination protections for renters.” The ordinance does not currently include implementing a rent control ordinance or capping rent increases.

    Read the full article here.

    ● October 1: “MaineHousing halts rental assistance program”

    MaineHousing is pausing new applications for its rental assistance program as the organization waits to hear from the federal government if a request for $55 million in additional funding for the program is approved. The emergency rental assistance program started in March of 2021 and was initially projected to last “at least through December 2022,” but MaineHousing cited that an “unanticipated tick in demand” created the need to pause the program as it awaits the approval of additional funding.

    Read the full article here.

  • 30 Sep 2022 4:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    From new housing developments, rent control news, election updates, and more - the RHA wants to keep our members informed of the latest local headlines. Read up on the latest headlines & news articles from the past few weeks below and stay tuned for weekly recaps every Friday.

    ● September 28: “South Portland Council pushes rent control talks to next year”

    The City Council has pushed talks about establishing a rent stabilization ordinance to January 10, 2023 in attempts to continue further discussions on the nuanced topic.

    Under the proposed rent stabilization ordinance, landlords could “increase rents once each year at a rate up to 7 percent, plus inflation.” It would include exemptions for “rents at or below federal fair market rates; apartments less than 16 years old; landlords with fewer than 11 apartments; as well as certain nonprofits, care facilities, schools, single-room occupancies and accessory dwelling units.”

    Councilor Misha Pride stated: “I appreciate the council deliberating on this, even though I don’t support rent control because I think there are too many unintended consequences.” When asked to specify on the problems attributed to rent control, Pride said “it discourages rental housing development, increases condo conversions and encourages landlords to raise rents to the maximum each year.”

    Read the full article here.

    ● September 28: “Watch: Newsroom Live on Short-Term Rentals”

    RHA President, Brit Vitalius, recently joined a panel hosted by the Portland Press Herald as part of their "Newsroom LIVE" series to discuss both Question A and Question B on the ballot this November. Listen in on this important conversation to learn more about both referendum questions and the impact they would have on the City of Portland. This is also a valuable educational resource to share with other community members or tenants! More detailed information on Question A + Question B is also available in the September 26 headline.

    Watch the conversation here.

    ● September 26: “Pair of Portland referendums offer competing proposals for regulating short-term rentals”

    Learn more about Question A + Question B in this breakdown by the Portland Press Herald. In summary, Question A, proposed by a group of short-term rental operators, seeks to limit corporate owners from registering short-term rentals. Question B, one of the questions proposed by the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, would reduce the number of short-term rentals. Both questions are being opposed by the “Enough is Enough” campaign.

    Read the full article here.

    ● September 21: “Here's a closer look at the Portland Charter Commission proposals”

    News Center Maine recaps the 13 referendum questions on the ballot this November. This recap also explains some of the criticisms surrounding the referendum questions, focusing in most on the backlash on Question 2 - which advocates for creating a “strong mayor” form of government, putting the mayor in charge as the chief executive of the city.

    Read the full article here.

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