Rents have increased for residents in apartments in Redbank Village in South Portland. Gregory Rec photo/Press Herald

SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland city councilors unanimously voted Tuesday night on an emergency proposal to freeze rents and evictions for six months in the wake of actions made by the new owners of Redbank Village Apartments.   

The moratorium will protect tenants from paying rent increases retroactively from April 1, 2022, to Nov. 27, 2022.   

“We are going to try really hard to protect as many families as possible,” said councilor Kate Lewis. 

Councilors and other residents called for emergency action to prevent tenants from becoming homeless in an aggressive market and prevent other landlords from imposing similar increases.   

Councilors were presented with an updated draft of the moratorium after last week’s workshop. The council recommendations included a rent cap of 10 percent versus a rent freeze to help reduce the chance of litigation, no evictions for failure to pay increase, and rent increases would not be as drastic as reported. The move buys the council time to thoroughly vet a rent stabilization ordinance and all the nuances and pros/cons.  

Numerous South Portland residents commented at the meeting, expressing their concerns and thoughts on the possible eviction moratorium.  


“I just wanted to let you guys know, thank you so much for the rent stabilization. We can’t stop; it is just the beginning,” said Krissy, who identified herself as a South Portland resident. “If you want to see something really sad and where the homeless are going, go over to I-95 to that park and ride and take a tour from around 11 p.m. to 12 a.m., and you will see where the homeless go. They are all sleeping in their cars. I cannot imagine seeing this small town go away for billion-dollar companies. They do not care about us, and they do not care about you. They see the money. It is sad to see people leaving people that have been here for 10 plus years.”   

Redbank Village Management sent a letter to City Manager Scott Morelli on Tuesday, just before the council was set to hold the meeting to discuss the legal implications of the eviction moratorium and rent freeze. The apartment complex owners have proposed a rent cap at Redbank Village Apartments instead of “those harmful policies.”   

“Nevertheless, we are sensitive to the unique circumstances for our residents in South Portland and, as indicated in our discussions with both your office and the housing authority, we are committed to a solution that adequately addresses those circumstances,” wrote Redbank Village Management Team. “Yesterday, we learned the city council planned to take up proposals we believe would hurt us and numerous other apartment owners in South Portland. Rather than institute those harmful policies, we propose instituting a self-imposed cap on renewal increases to no greater than 10 percent of the average in-place rent for the property.

“We will impose this cap immediately. This is in addition to the sizeable additional discounts we enacted last week for residents receiving housing assistance following our discussions with the local housing authority. We hope this proposal addresses the concerns of the community, and we look forward to continuing to be a positive member of the South Portland community.”   

The letter discussed how the Redbank management team plans to begin a $6 million project to repair and upgrade the property this fall. The construction includes a new state-of-the-art clubhouse, new fitness center, property-wide landscaping upgrades, roof and AC repairs and replacements to the property’s wood decks, and more.  But residents are still having to pay for utilities most apartment complexes offer. 

During the meeting, Assistant City Manager Josh Reny said that he had a short conversation with JRK Holdings about the letter it sent out.   


In recent weeks, JRK Holdings of Los Angeles has raised rents as much as $598 per month and moved to evict tenants throughout the 500-unit complex. Some tenants could receive rent subsidies through the South Portland Housing Authority and other agencies.   

On May 31, South Portland City Council held a special workshop to discuss an eviction moratorium at the request of some residents concerned with significant rent increases being implemented at Redbank Village apartments. The issue could leave some of these tenants out of their homes. There were a few changes made since the March 31 workshop, according to Corporation Counsel Sally Daggett.   

“Under city ordinance, all landlords must give a 75-day notice of rent increases and must also obtain proof of notice from each tenant,” Morelli said in the email. “The purpose of the information request is to confirm proper notice was given and that JRK retained the confirmation notices as required by ordinance.”     

A rent stabilization ordinance is scheduled for a council workshop on June 14. 

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