The sale of buildings commonly triggers an endless torrent of rent increases and housing instability, significantly now as we recover from the pandemic. But on Nov. 6th, a celebration was held after the Torrington Tenant Association’s finalized a 5-year agreement with capped rent for their home in Jamaica Plain.
“I've been here for over 30 years and I'm grateful for my community,” said Wanda Turner, a Torrington Properties TA leader, “I was raised here I raised my kids here, and I’d like to stay here.¨
The Torrington Properties TA of Hyde Park Avenue in Jamaica Plain consists of two buildings with 52 units down the street from the public transit artery, the Forest Hills Orange Line train station, and public bus hub. Many tenants in The Torrington Properties TA are Black and Hispanic Latinos from the Caribbean and Central America and some have been there for decades.
In 2019 the landlord of the properties at 253-261 and 280 Hyde Park Ave., tried to increase rent, and City Life/Vida Urban (CLVU) started to knock on the doors of the 52 units in response to them being among the last affordable buildings near Forest Hills in deep need of repairs.
The newly won contract establishes 5-year leases for all residents in the Torrington apartment complex with a rent increase of 3% per year after an initial bump in rent to $1,400 for a one-bedroom and $1,700 for a two-bedroom and a 2% per year rent increase for residents now paying higher “market” rents. Torrington committed to not increasing rents over the payment standard for current and new Section 8 tenants.
“At a time when many real estate corporations are pushing rents through the roof, this corporation at Torrington Properties decided to negotiate a fair rent,” said Zafiro Patino, Jamaica Plain CLVU organizer. “Even though there were disagreements, a collective bargaining agreement was finalized that stabilizes tenants and ensures good long-term tenants at Torrington Properties.”