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Takoma Park Residents Rally Against Rent Hikes, Gentrification

A Takoma Park residential development, called Hampshire Tower Apartments, is pricing out its residents by increasing rents by up to 70 percent over the next several months. One current resident told The Washington Post that her rent will skyrocket from $1,098 to $1,600. The rent increase is partially due to a major renovation happening to the building. It's also partially due to the fact that despite Montgomery County's annual cap on rent increases, landlords can and do ignore the cap, raising rents an average of about 5 percent per year.

In the Hampshire Tower Apartments case, the site is exempt from the city's rent stabilization law. Exemption or not, tenants are rallying to stop the owner from pricing them out, accusing the owner of having a plan to displace them. A staff member from the company that owns the building told The Washington Post that the gentrification fears are unfounded—this said despite the description of the Hampshire Tower Apartments on the Orlo Fund website that Takoma Park is "on the verge of dynamic growth and development." In the next five years, the owner of the building plans on raising rents to a price that those making 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) can afford, up from the current set price of 60 percent AMI.

This fall, the County Council will consider legislation that will impose new rent restrictions. According to The Washington Post, these restrictions will cause landlords to have to justify any rent increases that exceed the ­recommended guidelines. The legislation will also enforce the rent cap at certain properties near mass transit. If the legislation is not approved, bill sponsor Marc Elrich expects rent increases to spike once the Purple Line is complete.
· 'They're putting us out': Rent hikes in Md. spotlight affordable housing needs [The Washington Post]