August 30, 2018

Nancy’s Story: Retired local teacher forced out of home

The house where I have rented for almost 10 years was not on the market, but, last fall [before Measure M was in the works], a realtor representing a family looking to invest in income property offered my landlord enough money that he decided to sell. The new owners let me know they planned to cut the apartment I rented into 3 bedrooms in order to double or triple their rental income, which meant I had to move. After the remodel, I could rent one of the bedrooms and pay close to the same amount for that one room as I paid for a one-bedroom apartment before the unsolicited sale.That was, of course, not a solution for me. Several other tenants moved as well.

It is frustrating that a realtor can create this kind of chaos by artificially putting a house on the market, enticing the owner to sell because housing prices have inflated so quickly. Allowing this to continue means renters will be displaced by a sale every few years. Buying high necessitates charging high rents to cover the mortgage and make a tidy profit, so renters like me will always have to relocate and will ultimately be forced to leave the city.

I retired from teaching here, anticipating a moderate degree of stability as a productive community member who has commitments and attachments in the town where I have lived for 20 years. Those are not things we can simply regenerate if we have to move to a cheaper location, contrary to what home owners often suggest. Nine months after the sale, I am still in limbo, trying to figure out what to do next. I never imagined my living situation could be so precarious.