NEWS & UPDATES

Read our organization's latest statements, view updates, and access information on today's trending topics and news stories.

  • 01 Aug 2022 3:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We strive to keep our members informed on what's happening in the communities we serve. See below for an update on South Portland's upcoming City Council meeting. 

    As always, we encourage RHA members to get involved and comment when allowed on behalf of the housing providers community. We are looking for members to join in our advocacy efforts. If you or someone you know would be interested please reach out to our admin at admin@rhamaine.org

    - The Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine 

  • 27 Jul 2022 3:13 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, is responding to recent reports that a new rent control referenda question will be on the November 2022 ballot in Portland.

    Despite immediate and widespread issues caused by the implementation of Portland’s existing, nationally unprecedented, rent control policy, the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is doubling down with a new proposal they claim will make Portland more “livable”. Specifically, they are seeking to limit annual rent increases to 70% of the Consumer Price Index, restrict deposits to one month of rent, prohibit application fees, require a 90-day notice for lease terminations or rent increases, limit rent increases to tenant-initiated turnovers, set a $25,000 fee for condominium conversions, increase the authority of the city’s rent board and permit tenant unions to represent tenants before the board.

    As the leading authority on rental housing in the region, the RHA represents a group of 650+ professional rental housing providers who have dedicated themselves to maintaining and increasing the supply of economically viable, quality housing for all income levels. The Greater Portland area already faces a housing shortage and the Rent Control and Green New Deal referendum passed in Portland in 2020, as predicted by the RHA and other stakeholders, have served only to further exacerbate the issue by incentivizing rent increases, disincentivizing local housing providers, and widening the gap between rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled units.

    "This is just going to break the system even more than it's already broken," Brit Vitalius, President of the RHA, said in a recent press statement. “The current rent control policy necessitates the raising of rents every year because if you get too far behind in the market it’s impossible to catch up. Our members are local small business owners trying to survive amid record inflation. Many are fed up and just selling their buildings to out of state developers who, as with Redbank in South Portland, often have a severely different approach to tenant and community relations.”

    A significant piece of the RHA’s mission is to advocate for high-quality housing and responsible housing solutions. An active RHA Advocacy Committee meets regularly and will continue to fight to educate voters about the true implications of shortsighted proposals, such as this one, developed without the input of those actually providing housing, that make it increasingly impossible to create much-needed housing in Portland. “We're just tired of being held hostage by the referendum process in the city,” Vitalius said. “This is no way to govern a city.”

    The full text of the measure can be viewed here on the City of Portland’s website. RHA members will receive regular updates related to advocacy efforts as the election approaches. Any rental housing providers interested in learning more or joining our efforts should contact admin@rhamaine.org.

    Links to all Citizen Initiatives:

    1. An Act to Eliminate the Sub-Minimum Wage, Increase Minimum Wages and Strengthen Protections for Workers

    2. An Act to Protect Tenants in Portland

    3. An Act to Reduce the Number of Short Term Rentals in Portland

    4. An Act to Restrict Cruise Ships in Order to Reduce Congestion and Pollution

    5. An Act to Regulate Short Term Rentals in Portland and Prohibit Corporate and Absentee Operation of Short Term Rental Properties


  • 22 Jun 2022 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the region’s leading membership organization for over 65local housing providers announced the launch of a new identity. Previously known as the Southern Maine Landlord Association (SMLA), the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine (RHA) will continue to serve rental housing providers from across the industry.

    The new name, corresponding new logo, and updated website were part of a considered, collective effort made by the organization’s Board of Directors to exemplify the focus of the RHA on local outreach and its commitment to providing high-quality rental housing for communities across Southern Maine. 

    Further, the launch of the RHA also includes the formal creation of an affiliated charitable arm, the RHA Foundation. The RHA Foundation will augment previous philanthropic work done by the SMLA and continue to support local organizations that address issues of housing insecurity - partnering with groups and causes for philanthropic events, fundraising initiatives, general outreach and awareness, education and advocacy, and more. The Foundation’s goal is to improve the quality of life for underprivileged members of the community and to strengthen southern Maine’s housing opportunities now and for generations to come. Additional information about The RHA Foundation will soon be made available on the RHA's website here.

    “This work is the product of a year-long, thoughtful collaboration on how best to represent our members, our partners, and our community,” says Brit Vitalius, President of the RHA. The creation and provision of safe, quality rentalhousing has never been more important. And, as our membership continues to grow and diversify, we recognized that it was time to consider an updated identity that would speak more directly to the impact our members have on their communitiesWe have found that in the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, and we look forward to future progress through advocacy on behalf of local housing and housing providers.” 

    Originally established in April 1975 as the Greater Portland Housing Association, the RHA has since grown to a successful organization of 650+ members, representing a group of southern Maine’s rental housing owners, property managers, business owners and industry partners. The leading authority on rental housing in the region, the RHA is dedicated to its local community with a mission to promote equitable and fair business standards, strengthen tenant relations, advocate for high-quality housing and housing solutions, and educate the public and the industry on pressing issues related to housing. 

    The organization’s new name is also accompanied by a new logo and revamped website. Inspired by Maine’s original state flag, and reflecting RHA’s focus on the importance of housing, the logo features a bespoke icon combining Maine’s white pine tree with a door key. A natural color palette informed by southern Maine’s landscape and a modern, minimalist font round out the RHA’s new visual identity and represents the organization’s forward-thinking outlook and mission. This branding is showcased throughout the RHA’s streamlined website, which includes updated information on membership, community engagement, advocacy, and more. 


  • 02 Jun 2022 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, a local non-profit organization of rental housing property owners from across the region, issued a statement in response to information included in recent media reports, and presented to the South Portland City Council, related to actions taken by JRK Property Holdings, the new owner of the 500-unit Redbank Village community in South Portland.

    “As a group of 500+ professional rental housing providers, who have dedicated themselves to maintaining and increasing the supply of economically viable, quality housing for all income levels, we can speak from experience and say that large-scale, blanket, rent increases are rarely, if ever, required to gain an ethical and reasonable return on investment, let alone justifiably implemented as JRK Property Holdings has decided to in South Portland. 

    As with all commercial activity, price increases are necessary at times. However, for landlords, those price increases should always be based solely in pursuing a reasonable rate of return on top of real costs. This certainly does not seem to be the case at Redbank. Luckily, the scenario we are seeing there happens infrequently, and the overwhelming majority of Maine rental housing properties are owned and operated by conscientious local owners who treat their tenants with dignity and respect. When rent increases are necessary, owners work closely with tenants to avoid displacement and disruption. 

    Recent media coverage has shown that society will not stand for this kind of behavior from bad actors, and the SMLA is committed to join in condemning it when warranted. While our collective condemnation as a community is necessary to ensure reasonable rent practices, extreme policy measures lead to unintended consequences for both owners and tenants, including an inevitable reduction in the availability of quality rentals for Maine’s families.  

    The Greater Portland area already faces a housing shortage and pushing 60 working class families out into the stressed rental market is both traumatic for the displaced families and a burden to a community which is already struggling to provide quality housing at all income levels.”

    - Brit Vitalius, President, Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine

306 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

(207) 200-1301
admin@rhamaine.org


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