VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - Residents of this Vallejo complex got real sticker shock when they were notified of the rent increase. Those who live at Strawberry Hill on Richardson Dr. in Vallejo were notified on May 15th through a notice on their doors that the rent would double in 60-days.
“They’re killing us, they’re not helping us,” said Roquita Villenas, a 12-year resident who told us she expressed her concern to property owner, San Francisco-based, The Reliant Group. “What if I don’t have a place to go? He said well we’re following the law. The law said you need to move out.”
Her rent would increase from $825 a month to around 16-hundred dollars as the company upgrades the 64-unit complex and prices them at market rates.
“We do have some veterans here. We also have some senior citizens here. We also have people here who have disabilities and we also have some people here who are working double jobs just to make the regular $850 for 1 bedroom and the $995 for two bedrooms,” said Joseph Coleman, an 8 year resident.
At City Hall, the Mayor of Vallejo, Bob Sampayan, who is also on the Vallejo Housing Authority board and has decried the rent hike, held a meeting with representatives from The Reliant Group on Monday.
“One of my first ask was to have community engagement with the residents. 17:27:58 to slow this process down and they have agreed to do that. They say they have a pretty brisk timeline by quite frankly you're dealing with people,” said Mayor Sampayan.
For its part, Reliant Group Management Vice President Jason Snyder told KTVU that the company had previously approached Vallejo city officials about making the Strawberry Hill Apartment Complex affordable housing.
“We were told in no uncertain terms back last summer on the front end of our due diligence that the city didn't have any interest in any more affordable housing that they felt that they had enough in the city,” said Jason Snyder, a vice president at The Reliant Group.
He says the company is slowing the process for residents at Strawberry Hill and will work with the city to officer Housing Choice Vouchers.
“I think in having the communication with the mayor and his team today, we're going to slow the initial front down for a couple of weeks to allow us together to work through next steps.”
Snyder said that the company will take part in community engagement to more pointedly address concerns from the residents of Strawberry Hill and to let them know their options, which includes the ability to seek residency at one of its other affordable housing properties in Hayward, Antioch, Hercules and Napa.