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  • 24 Mar 2023 6:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March 20: Portland City Council sends to voters a citizen-initiated proposal to eliminate a rent cap 

    On Monday night, Portland’s city council voted to send our amendment to the June election. RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was interviewed by WMTW regarding the amendment, saying that “it would also allow landlords to cover their expenses and make necessary improvements.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 20: Letter: Rent control is violation of Fifth Amendment 

    Timothy Robinson of Portland wrote a letter to the editor declaring rent control violates the Fifth Amendment. Robinson notes, “The government’s use of eminent domain has come to be known as taking and our government’s taking has manifested in two forms: one, a land grab, or two, the imposition of weighty government regulations. In theory, the government must reimburse the property owner the fair market value for most seizures.”   

    Read the full article here. 

    March 21: Waterville City Council approves housing rental registration ordinance 

    The Waterville city council approved a housing rental registration ordinance on Tuesday. The ordinance requests property owners register their buildings with the city instead of requiring them so that the city can “contact landlords in an emergency.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 21: Three affordable housing projects in the works in Cumberland 

    Cumberland city council plans to announce three affordable housing projects next week. The three projects will provide at least 225 residential units. All three projects will likely involve the Maine State Housing Authority.   

    Read the full article below. 

    March 22: Divided council passes rent control in South Portland, in effect until 2030 

    South Portland city council passed a rent control ordinance, which will go into effect in June. Enforcement of the new ordinance is left up to tenants. 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 23: Portland real estate developer committed to expanding Maine's affordable housing stock 

    The Szanton Company is currently constructing another affordable apartment complex. They are halfway through their Bathproject. 

    Read the full article below.  

  • 17 Mar 2023 3:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March 14: Portland Planning Board gets first look at proposed Bayside project with 800 housing units 

    On Tuesday night, the Portland planning board discussed Port Property’s and West Bayside Partners LLC proposed redevelopment proposal for Portland's Bayside neighborhood. The proposed master development plan calls for the construction of 804 new units, with 603 units at market rate and 201 affordable units.

    Read the full article here. 

    March 14: Maine lawmaker sees malls as a solution to the housing shortage 
    Rep. Richard Campbell of Orrington has introduced a bill to convert vacant shopping malls into housing. Campbell's bill is a concept draft with no language attached to it and only carries a goal the new housing committee will complete the bill's crafting. 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 14: Augusta launches debate over how best to improve conditions in the city's housing stock 

    Augusta city council has proposed a rental ordinance requiring landlords to pay a registration fee of $100 per rental unit annually. This fee would be utilized to cover the city's need to hire additional code enforcement officials and inspect housing units more frequently. In addition, a discussion is underway of creating a separate task force to address safety and improve housing stock. 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 14: Cape Elizabeth debates affordable housing 

    Cape Elizabeth is looking to implement a new state law (LD 2003) that offers the ability to build multi-unit housing in residential zones. The tow ordinance committee proposed a 200-unit housing project which would then allow for larger apartment complexes to be built after. Cape Elizabeth town council is currently seeking a scaled-back version. 

    Read the full article here. 
    March 15: New affordable housing complex for older Mainers opens in Old Orchard Beach 

    A newly developed 55-unit affordable housing complex began moving residents in on Wednesday. The Szanton Company built the complex with partial funding from MaineHousing loans. 
    Read the full article here. 

    March 15: Why rent control won’t solve the issue of high rents in the US 

    CNBC recaps how rent control policies affect housing affordability, and why economists argue that rent control deters developers, which in turn worsens the housing supply crisis in the United States. 

    Read the full article here. 

  • 10 Mar 2023 3:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March 7: Waterville council moves toward ‘compromise’ housing rental rules that drop mandatory registration 

    On Tuesday night, the Waterville city council approved one of two needed votes to pass the rental registration ordinance. The City council voted to request that property owners register their buildings with the city instead of requiring them.   

    Read the full article here. 

    March 8: Lewiston considers vacant school property for affordable housing units 

    The Lewiston city council voted on Tuesday to postpone their decision regarding the redevelopment of a former elementary school into an affordable housing development for seniors. The project developer is Lewiston Housing, and they have plans for 44 affordable housing units. The matter has been postponed till April.   

    Read the full article here. 

    March 8: South Portland City Council moves rent stabilization ordinance forward 

    South Portland city council voted 4-3 on Tuesday to move forward with its rent stabilization ordinance. The second reading and vote for the ordinance is on March 21. If passed by May 27, the ordinance would take effect, the same day South Portland’s moratorium on evictions and rent increases expires. 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 8: Three rescued from Gorham apartment building fire late Tuesday night 

    A rental housing provider in Gorham is working to put tenants up in a local motel and return their March rent payment after an apartment building fire. "It was very important to me for my tenants to have a place to be and go", landlord Eileen Kalikow said Wednesday. She said she's owned the Narragansett St. property for 30 years and her priority is to help the affected tenants. 

    Read the full article here. 

    March 9: Maine State Legislature considers a slew of new bills 

    Rep. Chris Kessler of South Portland has sponsored a bill requiring an increase in advanced notice from landlords for tenants on rent increases. Kessler’s new bill was received on Thursday. 

    Read the full article here. 

  • 03 Mar 2023 5:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February 27: Right to housing among a flood of proposed state constitutional amendments 

    Rep. Benjamin Collings of Portland has proposed an amendment to the Maine Constitution to guarantee citizens' a housing right. However, the broad language of the proposed amendment has left many with questions. RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article stating, "I don't know what Rep. Collings means by a 'right to housing,'" Vitalius said. "To government housing? To private housing? The word seems to have real legal implications. Would the state be legally obligated to provide housing to everyone in the state and liable if the housing is not available?" 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 28: Industry Experts See Portland Rent Control Backfiring Amid Maine Housing Crisis 

    RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was quoted by the Maine Wire in a recent story about Portland’s rent control ordinance and its unintended consequences. Vitalius notes, “People who need the help aren’t getting it.” 

    Read the full article here.

    February 28: Portland Planning Board approves 162 units of affordable housing in North Deering 

    A newly approved affordable housing project is expected to add 162 units to North Deering in Portland. Maine Cooperative Development Partners are spearheading the Lambert Woods project at 165 Lambert Street. On Tuesday, they received major site plan approval. 

    Read the full article here.

    March 1: Proposal to eliminate a Portland rent cap qualifies for June ballot 

    The RHA's amendment to improve rent control has qualified for the June ballot! 

    "City Clerk Ashley Rand announced Wednesday that the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine handed in 4,013 signatures in support of its referendum, 3,087 of which were verified – more than twice the 1,500 signatures required to get citizen-initiated referendums on the ballot."  

    Read the full article here. 

    March 2: City of Bangor passes tenants' rights ordinance, but some landlords wonder what's next 

    On Monday, The City of Bangor passed a tenants' rights ordinance requiring landlords to give residents 60 days' notice before increasing rent, removal of application fees, and a $75 cap on tenant screening fees. The ordinance will go into effect on March 9th.  

    Read the full article here. 

    March 2: Newsradio WGAN: Interview with Brit Vitalius 
    Newsradio WGAN chats with RHA President, Brit Vitalius, about the Committee to Improve Rent Control and the successful effort to get “An Act to Improve Tenant Protections” on the June ballot.  

    “This is one very narrow change that is going to benefit tenants as much as it’s going to benefit landlords and housing in the Portland community. This is not a wishlist for landlords in Portland and it preserves every single tenant protection that’s in the current rent control now.” 

    Listen to the full interview here.

  • 24 Feb 2023 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February 21: As development around former Scarborough Downs surges, city council looks to slow housing projects 

    Scarborough Town Council will hold a public forum next week for a proposed ordinance to regulate “the pace and location of new housing within the community.” Council Chair John Anderson notes the Town Council is considering a limit to development “to 25 units a year in rural zones. Over three years, 300 units would be permitted in certain “growth areas,” and 450 units in the area around the Downs.” 

    Read the full article. 

    February 22: South Portland considers rent control and homeless shelters 

    On Tuesday night, South Portland City Council met and held the first reading of “a draft rent stabilization ordinance.” The proposed ordinance looks to “cap rent increases for current tenants at 10%, but only for landlords who own 15 or more rental units.” South Portland officials are looking at Portland’s rent control measures, says Mayor Kate Lewis, “I have heard some stories from landlords there who are finding it hard to keep with inflation, property taxes, the types of improvements they need to make in their properties.” 

    Read the full article here.  

    February 22: As CT legislature debates rent caps, I-Team looks at other cities/town with similar rent control 

    RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was interviewed by the I-Team at Channel 3 in Connecticut for a recent story on rent control as their state contemplates rent control legislature. “Many of the rents were well below market because that’s just how they go and they all got stuck there... It froze the market at a point in time in 2020 and the entire market just got stuck there.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 22: South Portland apartment complex to open soon for homeless asylum seekers 

    Avesta Housing recently received an occupancy permit for the 52-unit community, West End II, and aims to start moving asylum seekers in “within a few weeks.” 

    Read the full article here.

  • 17 Feb 2023 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    February 13: Letter to the editor: Portland landlords’ petition carries upside for existing tenants 

    Jody Huntington of Portland wrote a letter to the editor in support of the RHA’s proposed amendment. Huntington notes, “this proposal would benefit both landlords and tenants. It allows landlords to keep existing rent prices stable for their current tenants and, in return, landlords can raise rents to market rates once a tenant moves out.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 13: Bill aims to further protect tenants from landlord retaliation 

    Around 30 rental housing providers and advocates testified against LD 45 this Thursday during its first airing before the Judiciary Committee. “All this does is create more hurdles for landlords who want to legitimately evict tenants,” Lawliss said. “Good tenants are almost never evicted. Almost all evictions happen for very good reasons…We are not the enemy.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 14: Bangor considers revised "tenants' rights" ordinance 

    Bangor City Council recently held a public reading of a revised tenants' rights ordinance. If approved, the ordinance will “require a 60-day notice of any rent increase, limit the cost of screening fees to $75, and eliminate rental application fees entirely.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 16: Portland approves plan for 179-room hotel 

    The Portland planning board approved plans for a 179-room hotel at 385 Congress Street. The top floor will include nine condos. Hotel projects in Portland are required to build “a certain number of low-income housing units based on the number of rooms they have or pay a fee. The developer is opting not to build any affordable housing and pay a fee of $700,000.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 16: Auburn Planning Board denies proposed Phase 2 of Stable Ridge Apartments 

    On Tuesday, the Auburn Planning Board rejected a proposal by the American Development Group to add a second phase of construction to their current project, the stable Ridge Apartments at 555 Court St. The proposal would have doubled the number of units to 120. However, Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque notes that the permit denial wasn’t based on facts against the project and “believes the Planning Board will bring the project up for reconsideration next month.”  

    Read the full article here.

  • 10 Feb 2023 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February 5: Bowdoinham wrestles with future housing ideas

    Bowdoinham residents are seeking guidance from the Bowdoinham Planning Board and developers on expanding the “local housing market to include all ages and incomes.” Residents would like to see duplexes “offered as rentals and tax incentives for individuals, not just developers.” 

    Read the full article here.  

    February 6: Portland landlords seek rent-control change to allow for larger increases when units turn over 

    RHA members, read the latest article from the Press Herald that covers our proposed amendment and campaign to get it on the ballot. RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was quoted in the article stating that the proposal is “a narrow and commonsense fix so that Portland renters can realize the actual intent of rent control – to prevent unwieldy and unpredictable increases in rent year to year.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 7: Judge dismisses landlord’s appeal of Portland rent board ruling on increases 

    “The city does not plan to collect $15,350 in fines the rent board asked it to consider for Trelawny 657 LLC, saying ongoing cooperation from the landlord contributed to a decision to not impose the fine.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 7: Kennebunk Planning Board eyes implementation of Maine’s new housing law

    The Kennebunk Planning Board is looking to put forth Maine’s new affordable housing law, LD 2003, and may put it to the town in June. LD 2003 is designed to “unnecessary regulatory barriers to housing production in Maine, while preserving local ability to create land use plans and protect sensitive environmental resources.”   

    Read the full article here. 

    February 8: Landlords push to remove 5% rent hike cap in Portland 

    RHA President, Brit Vitalius, was interviewed by WGME for a recent story on the proposal to improve Portland's existing rent control ordinance. "[Portland's rent control ordinance] has been bad for the tenant, because what it does is now landlords have to raise the rent, the maximum allowed, every year because you can't catch up," Vitalius said. "I have not talked to a landlord who's not increased their rent in Portland since rent control passed. We have to." 

    Read the full article here.

  • 06 Feb 2023 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January 30: Lewiston, Auburn’s ‘booming’ housing market takes center stage at annual real estate conference 

    RHA President Brit Vitalius was interviewed in a recent article by the Sun Journal on Lewiston and Auburn’s residential market growth. Brit Vitalius notes that if Lewiston and Auburn can balance creating new housing and meeting current housing demands, the area “may fare better than communities like Portland, where they don’t want the rents to go up, but they keep restricting development.”

    Read the full article here. 

    January 31: Yarmouth moves forward on ordinance to require new affordable housing in town 

    On March 8th, the Yarmouth Planning Board will decide on a new affordable housing ordinance put forth by the Affordable Housing Committee. The ordinance “would require developers of larger housing developments and apartment complexes to make at least 10% of those units affordable for those earning 80% or less of the area median income.” Yarmouth’s Director of Planning and Development, Erin Zwirko, notes “Yarmouth does not (now) mandate affordable units within development projects, so there will be a little bit of getting used to should the ordinance be adopted.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    January 31:  Biddeford City Council hears affordable housing report 

    The Biddeford Affordable Housing Task Force made its final report to the city council this week and is recommending the city “work to create or preserve 900 affordable housing units by 2028," create a benchmark that “12.5 percent of all housing units be affordable by 2028," create a housing trust, and work towards addressing housing needs for those “who make 80 percent of the median annual income” in Biddeford. According to Councilor Marty Grohman, the Task Force studied rent control but opted not to propose it because “this is a tool that tends to be counterproductive over time … reduces the quality of the housing stock and leads to condoization (converting apartments to condominiums).”   

    Read the full article here. 

    January 31: Several proposed bills in Maine legislature aim at helping renters 

    Maine legislators have more than a dozen proposed bills aimed at "protecting renters and working to create more affordable housing" this session. Representative Christopher Kessler of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth has five bills put forth. Kessler’s bill LR 86 would “abolish application fees for renters.” Senator Anne Carney of Cumberland has put forth bill LR 47, looking to require “proof that a landlord is evicting a tenant for legal reasons if a tenant challenges them.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    February 2: Planned Scarborough housing project for disabled gets federal funding boost 

    3i Housing of Maine and Preservation of Affordable Housing are partnering for a new project at The Downs in Scarborough that would create more than 50 affordable units for individuals with disabilities. The project has been awarded over $500,000 in federal funding. The building plans to be high-tech, and Paul Linet, president and founder of 3i Housing of Maine, says the funding will help to “implement and analyze the impact of new assistive smart home technologies for low-income people with disabilities.” 
    Read the full article here.

  • 27 Jan 2023 11:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January 23: Bangor could approve tenants rights measures next month 

    The Bangor City Council will consider in February an updated rent control ordinance. "If passed, the proposed rules would eliminate housing application fees and cap screening fees — which pay for background checks, credit reports and eviction records — at $75." Rental housing providers would also be required to provide two months’ notice before “raising rental fees.” The original ordinance was drafted for review last October.

    Read the full article here. 

    January 24: Developer releases more details on Bayside project with over 800 housing units 

    On Tuesday, Port Property filed with the city of Portland a "master development plan" for over 800 rental units in the Bayside neighborhood. The proposed project includes “804 new rental units, including 201 affordable units and 603 at market rates.” Development is expected to take place over ten years throughout five phases.

    Read the full article here. 

    January 24: This new initiative funded by the EPA aims to help new Mainers advocate for safe housing 

    Nonprofit Healthy Housing with the Rwandan Community in Maine is a new initiative that, by this spring, hopes to be supplying individuals with information regarding tenant rights. The nonprofit is still in its initial stages, with the material currently being developed.

    Read the full article here. 

    January 25: Project planned for downtown Waterville would provide more than 60 housing units 

    Renewal Housing Associates and Northland Enterprises Inc are proposing a new project in downtown Waterville that would create more than 60 units with the potential for two more buildings. The additional buildings would be “subject to a separate board review.” Waterville Mayor Jay Coelho said, “the project is a fantastic idea that will alter the downtown for the better.” 

    Read the full article here.

    January 25: White House directs federal probe into housing rental market practices 

    On Wednesday, President Joe Biden released a "blueprint" described to “advance a stronger, more equitable renter market.” The blueprint is set to “enhance renter protections and crack down on unfair practices.”

    Read the full article here. 

  • 20 Jan 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    January 17: Is Portland’s rent control ordinance working? 

    The Portland Press Herald recently interviewed industry partners, city officials, and RHA members alike on the impact of rent control, with those opposed outlining the negative effects on housing. RHA President Brit Vitalius said, “a lot of landlords, especially smaller ones, have found the ordinance burdensome, and some are selling their buildings as a result.”

    Read the full article here.

    January 17: Seeing progress, Brunswick again extends housing moratorium 

    On Tuesday, the Brunswick Town Council voted to extend their housing moratorium for 180 days while the Brunswick Housing Committee aims to develop new policies around affordable housing units and new construction. The moratorium blocks new projects that contain “at least 30 housing units unless at least 15% of those units are reserved for households making no more than Brunswick’s area median income.” 

    Read the full article here. 

    January 17: Southern Maine residents say they’re being priced out of once-affordable city 

    Biddeford recently created an Affordable Housing Task Force to look for solutions to address the city’s housing crisis, while advocating against rent control “because of potential negative impacts seen in other cities…task force members did not feel rent control would help achieve its goals.”

    Read the full article here. 

    January 18: South Portland wants to take a lighter approach to rent control 

    RHA President Brit Vitalius and city officials were interviewed in a recent Bangor Daily News article discussing South Portland’s rent control proposal. “The group that wrote the referendum in Portland didn’t flesh out the consequences,” Vitalius said. “South Portland has had a deliberative process with great input.”

    Read the full article here.

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