As of July 1, College Housing Northwest (CHNW), the student housing management at Portland State University, raised the rent for campus housing.
Dennis McCauliff, director of housing at CHNW, said the rent increase was between 4 and 5 percent. In the terms of dollars, McCauliff said that the increase could be as low as $12 to 14 dollars for a studio apartment, or as high as $30 for a two-bedroom apartment.
McCauliff said the rent increase is due to the rising cost of utilities, supplies and repairs for the buildings and inflation.
McCauliff said the current rate of inflation is more than 3 percent.
According to McCauliff, there will be $450,000 put directly back into the buildings for capital improvements. Those improvements will include fixing existing buildings.
The students of college housing were sent a letter about the raising of their rent 30 days prior to the increase.
Since the rent increase, McCauliff has had approximately 6 phone calls of complaints from students. Typically McCauliff averages around 5 to 12 complaint calls from students per year.
There are people around campus that want to voice their concerns. Trevor Bryant is a Portland State University student who lives in college housing. Bryant is part of an organization called Formation of Independent Student Tenants (FIST).
According to Bryant, FIST is a group that has been created to be a unifying voice for college housing tenants.
Bryant contends that there is no advocacy for the student residents.
“Students have to stand up and defend themselves,” Bryant said.
Every July there has been a rent increase of 4 to 5 percent at CHNW. According to McCauliff the other schools in the Oregon University System have a rent increase of 5 to 8 percent per year.
Bryant claims that the rent rate increase occurs during a time that there are not a lot of students on campus to protest the rent hike.
McCauliff said that college housing remains at over 90 percent occupancy during the summer months. An estimated 950 students occupy the student housing during the summer and 1100 students during the school year.
The five FIST members have currently been going from door-to-door getting signatures for a petition. The petition expresses the concerns of the rent increase and the way that the student college housing is being ran by CHNW.
CHNW officials allowed Bryant to post his organization’s signs throughout student housing.
McCauliff said that Bryant has scheduled meeting to meet with CHNW, but Bryant failed to attend those meetings.
Bryant stated that he would like to avoid discussing this matter with CHNW officials until he has the petition completed.
According to Bryant the students of college housing and Portland State University are in a good position to investigate the topic of college housing, since the CHNW contract will be up for renewal in a couple of years.