Salem woman is ‘politely declining’ increase in her monthly rent - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem woman is ‘politely declining’ increase in her monthly rent

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A Salem woman on a fixed income said may face eviction after informing her landlord that she would not be able to pay a prosed rent increase in October. (KPTV) A Salem woman on a fixed income said may face eviction after informing her landlord that she would not be able to pay a prosed rent increase in October. (KPTV)
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

A Salem woman caught in the middle of the state's housing crunch is taking a stand, and refusing to pay an increase in her monthly rent.

Janis Sabatula said she was informed by her property manager she would need to pay $70 more in rent every month starting in October. Sabatula said she informed the property manager she doesn't have the means to pay it.

"I'm not boycotting anything. I'm not refusing anything,” she said. “I like to call it politely declining."

Sabatula, who has a limited income, said she's already on a tight budget. She's on the waiting list for affordable housing but has been told by the city that wait could be as long as two years.

"I'm scared," she said. "I'll probably be evicted."

Asked about the rent hike, and whether Sabatula might be granted an exemption, or at least a delay, the manager at the Evergreen Park Apartments said she had been instructed not to comment.

Sabatula, meanwhile, hopes to buy herself some time through the eviction process, which in some cases can be held up in court.

"I've had people I've kept in, especially with an appeal, three and a half years," Harry Ainsworth, a Portland attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant disputes, said.

Ainsworth noted those cases are rare and rely on the landlord or property owner making a procedural mistake.

In most cases, such a mistake will only buy the tenant an extra month, and if all the paperwork is in order, tenants can be removed from their homes by force.

"Generally the process is the sheriff comes out, landlord is there with a locksmith or handyman to change the lock” Ainsworth explained. “They give the tenant 20 minutes to get their stuff out."

Sabatula said she has no choice but to take the risk, hoping in the meantime a better option presents itself.

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