The South Portland City Council unanimously passed a six-month eviction moratorium Tuesday night.
This comes as residents at Redbank Village are facing rent increases of hundreds of dollars and some are now in danger of losing their homes.
The public was invited to speak on the issue ahead of the vote.
Many spoke in favor of enacting these measures to protect the people living at Redbank Village and send a message to JRK Property Holdings, the owners of the apartments, about these large rent increases.
Many others spoke out against these actions, including other landlords in South Portland.
“Redbank’s behavior is not representative of most of South Portland’s landlords,” landlord Rose Greely said.
“I feel that good landlords are paying the price for bad landlord behavior,” landlord Phil Notis added. “We were about to make some adjustments to the rent. But now if you pass this thing, we can’t do it. So what I’m asking is for fairness.”
“There is a phrase that they will charge what the market will bear,” said Rep. Chris Kessler, D-South Portland. “We’ve got to remember the market is people. And we can see that people cannot bear it anymore.”
JRK Holdings announced Tuesday that it would put a cap on rent increases at 10 percent.
Some tenants described increases of 15 percent to 20 percent, so this could give some a break.
The California-based company sent a letter to city leaders on Tuesday indicating a willingness to work with them and tenants after increasing rents for a number of low-income residents by hundreds of dollars.
“Rather than institute those harmful policies, we propose instituting a self-imposed cap on renewal increases to no more than 10% of the average rents for the property. We will impose this cap immediately. This is in addition to the sizeable discounts we enacted last week for residents receiving housing assistance,” JRK Property Holdings said.
The moratorium will not take effect until 20 days after passage.
The moratorium is set to expire on Nov. 27.