Tuesday, June 22, 2021
June 22, 2021

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Affordable seniors unit not immune from rent increases

Vintage at Vancouver rates up nearly 5% this year, 9% last year

By , Columbian Business Editor
3 Photos
Vintage at Vancouver at 9001 N.E. 54th St. was built after 2001 with a boost of government-backed money.
Vintage at Vancouver at 9001 N.E. 54th St. was built after 2001 with a boost of government-backed money. Amanda Cowan/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Vintage at Vancouver Senior Apartment Homes residents in recent years can expect envelopes placed on ledges outside their units toward the end of May. The envelopes contain the rate increases that will take effect in July.

This year was no different.

But these rents fall below the median $1,410 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,670 for a two-bedroom unit that are typically found in Vancouver.

Because the 153-unit complex was built with the help of federally backed, affordable housing programs, the rents can increase only at a U.S. Housing and Urban Development-approved rate each year based on estimates of metro area median incomes and fair market rents.

While the rents are below Vancouver market rates, a Vintage at Vancouver resident contacted The Columbian this week after the newspaper reported on Sunday that rents in Vancouver have increased at a 1.9 percent pace over the previous 12 months.

Rents at the complex north of Vancouver Mall increased substantially more than 1.9 percent last year and will do so again this year, the caller said. The increases at the low-income, seniors-only complex at 9001 N.E. 54th St. are making affording daily necessities more difficult, said the caller, who requested anonymity.

This year’s rent increase will be 4.8 percent and last year’s was 8.7 percent — rate bumps that comply with HUD guidelines, said Amanda Thomson, executive portfolio manager for FPI Mgt., the company that manages the property for the building’s owner. Thomson said this year’s increase could have been nearly 9 percent under HUD’s formula, but the management company chose a lower rate.

Rent for a one-bedroom, one-bath Vintage at Vancouver unit is $939 a month; rent for a two-bedroom, one-bath unit it is $1,125, according to its website. However, rental rates can vary from tenant to tenant.

A portion of units are set aside for people with up to 50 percent of the area’s median income and another portion for people with up to 60 percent of the area’s median income. Also, third parties, such as the Vancouver Housing Authority, may assist residents with rental payments.

When it was built after 2001, Vintage at Vancouver was financed with a mix of tax-exempt bonds and a low-income housing tax credit, which is a federal income-tax incentive that encourages private investment in affordable housing, said Margret Graham, communications manager for the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

Tax-exempt bonds are typically issued by state and local governments. Tax-exempt bond holders are exempt from federal taxation and generally from local taxation.

In more than three decades, $225 million in housing credits has helped to build or rehabilitate more than 5,000 affordable apartments in Clark County, Graham said.

Columbian Business Editor