South Portland apartment complex face rent increase of $400 a month/Courtesy Photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — The lack of affordable housing continues as South Portland residents at the Redbank Apartments complex face a monthly rent increase of $598 or more from the new owner.  

Many tenants are struggling families who are now being told their rent is going up by at least $400. Low-income families from Redbank Village met with a state lawmaker that is pushing for rent control. The meeting took place on Tuesday night. In the past weeks, Redbank Village management sent out lease notices for a new renewal offer, which was to increase rent from $200 to $600 depending on how soon tenants sign a new year-long lease.  

JRK Property Holdings, out of Los Angeles, has started charging its tenants $1,900 to $2,400 a month for a 535- to 825-square-foot apartments. JRK bought the cluster of 250 duplexes in November 2021 for $143 million. JRK Property Holdings has not made any comments about the rent increase issues.  

Redbank Village is a 500-unit apartment complex in South Portland and was built in 1942 as a federal public housing project.  

There is a no rent-control ordinance in the city.

“To increase the rent that much, in a time when gas is so expensive, and there’s no cap on what they can charge for these apartments (is tough),” said Redbank Village resident Kevin Gilson in a previous statement.  


Many residents have asked for a break on the rent increase and the owner said no. Residents of the apartment complex were told they had five days to sign the new lease. Some tenants felt like they were pressured to sign the new lease and others decided to refuse to sign.  

Sixty low-income families will be allowed to use housing vouchers to help cover the rent increase. The South Portland Housing Authority received a temporary exemption that allows 60 low-income families at Redbank to continue to use their federal vouchers.  

According to an earlier statement made by Nicole Bernier of the South Portland Housing Authority, the new rent is too high for the voucher program.  

“There’s still 450 families out there who are going to get these rent increases who do not have the support of the housing authority behind them,” Nicole Bernier of the South Portland Housing Authority said,” said Bernier.   

City Manager Scott Morelli spoke with the property manager at Redbank Village, saying he was concerned the rent increase might violate the city’s ordinance which requires a 75-day notice for rent increases. He plans to review the city’s options related to rent control with the city’s attorney.  

During the Tuesday, May 17, city council meeting, councilor Leighton proposed a workshop to discuss what residents’ legal options are for rent control. This stems from the latest news of the $500 plus rent hikes at Redbank. Many residents in Maine have faced rent hikes due to new owners. 

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