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IRVINE : Renters to Protest 9% Increase Notices

A group of people who live in the city’s low-income housing units will appear before the City Council tonight to protest planned rent increases.

Candi Baylor, who lives in the San Marco Apartments, said she received an Oct. 1 letter serving notice that the Irvine Co. was raising the rent on her one-bedroom, 725-square-foot apartment by nearly 17%, from $572 a month to $669.

Baylor said it did not make her feel much better when her landlords rolled back the increase last week to 9%, or $623 a month.

Baylor said the increase was not part of the agreement when she moved in December into the 426-unit complex, on Main Street between Jamboree Road and Harvard Avenue. She said she and several neighbors plan to let the City Council know their feelings at its meeting tonight.

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The apartment manager “told us the increases may be only about $5 a year, if there were any increases at all,” Baylor said.

Baylor, who is single and earns about $22,000 a year, lives in a group of apartments dedicated as low-income units in a 5-year-old agreement between the city and the Irvine Co. There are 265 such apartments spread out in 10 or 12 complexes in the city, said Maya Dunne, a senior city planner.

To qualify, a potential tenant must earn 50% below the county median income, Dunne said.

Brien Bloss of Western National Property Management Inc., the company that manages the San Marco Apartments and two other Irvine complexes for the Irvine Co., said the rental increases were based on a strict formula. The rents are based on median income figures published quarterly by the county.

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County projections showed a median income increase of 15%, from $46,928 to $53,502, from January to December of this year, said Bob Wilson, manager of the county’s Forecast and Analysis Center.

Adjusted figures are due this month, however, and Wilson predicted that a new December figure would be slightly less.


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