rent increases

Public Hearing on Rent Hikes Continued Into This Morning

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It was a debate that spanned several hours and ended early Wednesday morning after hundreds of people spoke out during a public hearing on whether or not to cap rent increases in Connecticut.

"I like to wake up half of the people in there. It looks like they’re getting tired, but this is a marathon not 100 yard dash," said Carlos Mouta, of Hartford.

Into the wee hours of the morning, tenants and their supporters let their voices be heard in support of a House bill being put forth by lawmakers proposing a four percent cap on rent increases. Some advocates want to go even lower at three percent.

"I spent well over a third of my income on rent. I spend half of my income on rent for a one bedroom apartment," said Eli Calhoun, of New Haven.

"Along with increasing utility rates and the higher cost for a basic foods like eggs and meats, it’s become difficult to save any money at all, let alone for things like car payments or student loans," said Tyler Carerra, of New Haven.

They aren't alone. In the last two years, renters in Connecticut saw average rent increases of 20 percent with some areas experiencing 30 to 40 percent increases.

"These testimonies are proof that we have a broken system. When our fellow citizens are working two to three jobs and are struggling to afford housing, we have a broken system," said Seth Freeman, of West Hartford.

Under the bill, landlords would also not be allowed to increase the cost during the first year of rental and then after would need to give 90 days notice of a hike. Some say that's not possible with the rising prices from taxes to energy to construction costs.

One Meriden landlord said he invests his own money to renovate his properties and feels he can increase his rents as he sees fit.

"This bill uses a one size fits all strategy and would generally hurt landlords and tenants in the long run," August Miller, of Meriden said.

It's unknown when the Housing Committee will reconvene on the issue and vote on the bill.

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