NEWS & UPDATES

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

  • 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.

  • 30 Sep 2022 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As the November election approaches, we have compiled the most recent information from the "Enough is Enough" campaign below with more details on how you can get involved, from door-to-door canvassing and yard signs to media resources!

    • THIS WEEKEND: Go Door-to-Door With Us!

    Join the "Enough is Enough" campaign and supporting community members for the next door-to-door canvassing effort!

    When: THIS SATURDAY, October 1 @ 9AM

    Where: Portland Chamber of Commerce Office (93 Exchange Street)

    If you'd like to volunteer, please feel free to meet us at the Portland Chamber of Commerce Office to meet the team and we'll head out at 9AM! Can't make it this weekend? Email campaign@enoughisenoughportland.com to coordinate additional times!

    • Show Your Support With NEW Signs 

    "Enough is Enough" lawn signs are now ready! If you would like a campaign sign, please email our RHA Administrator at admin@rhamaine.org to organize a pick-up at our RHA Office (306 Congress St., Portland).

    • The Latest News from "Enough is Enough":
    1. "City Report Shows DSA Referendums Will Cost Portland Taxpayers At Least $6.5 Million Annually" 

    "A report released late Thursday by Interim City Manager Danielle West shows the 13 referendum questions on Portland’s November ballot will cost taxpayers a minimum of $6.5 million each year." Read the Article.

    2. "Democratic Socialists Abandon Their Own Referendum"

    "The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a multi-million dollar national political organization that is targeting Portland with a series of ill-conceived referendums to establish “the most radical socialist agenda in America,” today announced they will oppose one of their own referendums. The DSA has now formally abandoned their ballot question to ban cruise ships from Portland harbor." Read the Article.

    • Video: Unpacking Portland’s Competing Referendum Questions 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. RHA Members, 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! Watch Here.
    • Looking for More Ways to Get Involved?
    Visit our Advocacy page here for info on how to donate & sign-up for the campaign newsletter!
  • 23 Sep 2022 12:12 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 22: “A busy week in the push to boost Freeport housing options 

    Last week, over 30 people gathered at Freeport’s Town Hall for a public workshop to discuss the town’s need for additional affordable housing. Speakers included representatives of the Freeport Housing Trust, the town’s Social & Racial Equity Committee and the Freeport Economic Development Corporation. During the regular council meeting, members voted to reduce the minimum parking requirements in multi-family units of Freeport’s downtown, stating that the change could provide flexibility for developers and encourage new affordable housing developments. The creation of an affordable housing committee is set to be discussed at the next meeting on October 4.  

    Read the full article here. 

    • September 21: “Plans advance for 4-story apartment building at Brunswick Landing” 

    A sustainably focused housing development is moving forward at Brunswick Landing. The 49,192-square-foot Beacon Workforce Housing project will include 63-units - thirteen of which will be Workforce Housing units made available for tenants with incomes less than the median income in Brunswick ($63,458). Brunswick requires that 15% of all new housing units be affordable and this development exceeds that minimum by 5%. The building will also be fully electric and feature sustainable siding and EV-charging stations that the developers say contribute to its long-term investment. 

    Read the full article here. 

    • September 14: “Local, federal leaders speak at affordable housing roundtable in Augusta” 

    An affordable housing roundtable was held at the Maine State Housing Authority in Augusta earlier this month, featuring speakers from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Housing Service and the Maine State Housing Authority. Speakers discussed a comprehensive approach, tackling equity, local employer programs, and finding “creative” ways to increase the housing stock.  

    "It’s not just MaineHousing. It’s the whole infrastructure of state government that is at work trying to address this issue of getting more people involved in the trades and getting more people interested in the types of trades that build housing." - Dan Brennan, Director of the Maine State Housing Authority. 

    Read the full article here. 

    • September 13: “New commission says it'll focus on expanding affordable housing at all levels” 

    A new commission on affordable housing met for the first time earlier this month, which included representatives from Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. “The commission will have to strike a delicate balance between the needs of property owners who rely on short-term rentals as a source of income and Mainers who don't have stable, affordable housing, explained Judy East of Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.” The commission is scheduled to submit recommendations to the legislature this November. 

    Read the full article here.


  • 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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