Local News

Senior Residents Face 30% Rent Increase

This article has been updated from its original version.
Ventana, a 95-unit low-income seniors’ community located at 345 Commonwealth Ave. in Fullerton may no longer be affordable to many current residents. Richman Property Services, which manages the complex for the Richman Group developers of the property, sent notice to tenants of a 30% rent increase beginning November. At the same time utility costs paid separately by the tenants are also going up.
Many tenants are worried about how to pay for the 30% rise in rent as many of them live off Social Security Retirement Benefits, a fixed income that in 2022 averages around $1,623 a month before removing Medicare Healthcare costs of about $170 per month. (Social Security Retirement Benefits rise or fall with annual Cost-of-Living-Adjustments and in 2022 amounted to a 5.9% rise.)
Currently the only rent control protection Fullerton has is the statewide AB1482 Tenant Protection Act bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom that caps rent increases by a maximum of 10%. However, local laws can lower that cap. For instance, last month both Oakland and the City of Commerce city councils passed ordinances that rent cannot be increased by more than 3%, and Santa Monica has a 2% or $44 (whichever is lower) cap on rent increases. This raises many questions that our reporters are investigating. Stay tuned for more updates soon. In the meantime, some residents of Ventana will be speaking during public comments at the next Fullerton City Council meeting at 5:30pm, August 16 at City Hall.
After publication of this article, Richman Property Services sent the following statement to The Observer:
“We share the concerns of residents regarding rising rents in the market. The recent notice that was sent to our residents was distributed prematurely, before our internal review process was complete. The actual rent increase will be 10% and will take effect Nov. 1. We apologize for any concerns the premature message may have created.”


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14 replies »

  1. I think Phil is referencing the loophole in AB1842 that Dawn explained, that the limits on rent increases in the state law exempted affordable housing! That is utterly shocking. I’d love to hear our local electeds in the state legislature explain why the Dems who are the majority in both houses and the Democratic Governor agreed to these terms.

  2. Given that this rent increase may in fact be legal — the owner of the property is simply raising the rent in his complex to the level that he legally can ask for “affordable” housing (apparently he can charge as high as $1397 for an “affordable” 2 bedroom appt) — perhaps the renters could apply to the State for an increase in any subsidies that they may receive to cover this increase in rent. They’d have until November (several months) to do so.

    • To the best of my knowledge, there are no CA state subsidies for U.S. Citizens to help cover rent. Section 8 is a Federal program. Not trying to be controversial. Just trying to help people understand there’s not much help out there for renters of any age, not even Seniors.

  3. This is happening is due to corrupt politicians doing deals with corrupt developers. If there are loopholes in rent laws, they were probably intentional.

  4. I hope people care. They should care because it is wrong to do this. This creates more homeless, makes people have to choose between food/health care or a roof, and hurts an already vulnerable part of our society. This will eventually erode our city, housing prices, tourism, business, and so on. I for one care about our community. I love Fullerton and want to see it be healthy and affordable for everyone.

  5. How much did the City give away in negative externalities to build this? I’m sure promises were made. Have they been kept? Who cares?

  6. Please get your facts right. AB 1482 does not allow for local rent control to be imposed on affordable housing projects. The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee has authorized the maximum rent for a two-bedroom apartment at $1,397. The reality is that these folks are paying for $1,346 in Orange County, where inflation has pushed up rents across the board. They are paying under market. Even if Fullerton did pass a local rent control measure, they could not enact it on affordable housing units which are expressly exempt. AB 1482 reads:

    (e) This section shall not apply to the following types of residential real properties or residential circumstances:

    (9) Housing restricted by deed, regulatory restriction contained in an agreement with a government agency, or other recorded document as affordable housing for persons and families of very low, low, or moderate income, as defined in Section 50093 of the Health and Safety Code, or subject to an agreement that provides housing subsidies for affordable housing for persons and families of very low, low, or moderate income, as defined in Section 50093 of the Health and Safety Code or comparable federal statutes.”

    • So the owner of the complex is raising the rent on the renter above from $1047 to $1346/mo. because the unit is categorized as “affordable” and AB1482 allows owners of “affordable housing units” to charge a maximum $1397 for a two bedroom appt?

      Wow, that’s a truly creative (and hurtful) way to game the system.

      • I so appreciate your comment to this article. I am one of the residents that reside at Ventana. Many will be displaced because of this Increase. I am one of the few resident that work. I am 69 years old and work at my church in Downey and was planning on retiring in January due to health issues. Now it seems that I may have to work for the remainder of my life in order to have housing. The rent increase is effective November 1st. That is not sufficient time to find alternative housing. Many don’t have families that can or will take them in. There is a cost to moving as well. We don’t have the money to relocate. I overheard a resident stating that the only way they would be able to move, is to leave behind all of their belongings, let Ventana deal with the clean out, and carryout a backpack with some clothes. The elderly here are afraid. It is very sad. I have reached out to Chapman University Elder Law as they have Pro-Bono help for Seniors. I have heard nothing from them as of yet. We are desperately hoping that someone is willing to advocate for us. God Bless you Father Kriz.

  7. No it doesn’t – the bill caps the increase at a maximum of 10%. Nothing says landlords have to increase by that amount but they can’t increase more than that. However I agree the maximum cap should have been set lower.

  8. If State law caps rent increases at 10%, then the management company is breaking the law by giving a 30% increase. The worst thing the State ever did was passing AB1482 – it forces landlords to give the max increase possible. Typical lack of forethought by the Government.

  9. The rent going up by $300 per month shown above is for a 496 sq-foot one-bed apartment. Rents are also going up for the larger 770 sq-foot 2-bed apartments in the “affordable” complex which was granted an over $8 million city loan and tax credits when it was built around 2014. How many other apartment complexes in Fullerton are raising rents? How are people on fixed incomes supposed to live? Are we creating a new set of homeless people including seniors, students, and minimum wage workers?