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Seniors stung by rent hike

Bayview Landing resident says increases exceed her Social Security benefits each month. Neighbors consider moving states.

March 19, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

Like many of its residents, 65-year-old Iris Brazil likes living at Bayview Landing, a senior housing complex built on roughly 5 acres at Jamboree Road and Back Bay Drive in Newport.

The rent-controlled, two-year-old complex near Newport Dunes Marina and a 10-acre park with walking trails is quiet and clean, Brazil said, and features a swimming pool and a community center.

But Brazil doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be able to live at Bayview. Her rent will jump from $951 to $1,023 next month, and her Social Security benefits have not kept pace with the increase.

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“I think it’s sort of unfair,” Brazil said. “We have some very elderly people who live here, and it would be traumatic if they had to move — they’re not going to find anything cheaper around here.”

The increase is the most recent of several hikes for Bayview residents in the past few years, Brazil said. Her rent has jumped from $744 to $1,023 from when she moved into the complex in February 2006, but her Social Security benefits have gone up only 2.3% from last year, she said.

Many of Brazil’s neighbors have told her they are leaving because of the latest rent increase and will live with relatives in less expensive places to retire, like Utah and Arizona, she said.

Bayview resident Shari Jajonie, 68, works part time in a clothing boutique to supplement her Social Security benefits, despite problems with back pain. Jajonie had hoped to quit her job and retire completely, but will have to keep working because of the pending rent increase, she said. Her monthly $1,100 Social Security checks will barely cover the $1,023 rent for a one-bedroom apartment at Bayview.

“I know it’s Newport Beach and it’s expensive, but I have family in the area and I just wanted to be closer to my grandchildren,” said Jajonie, who moved to the complex from San Clemente shortly after it first opened in December 2005. “I know it’s probably the cheapest rent around, but it’s still supposed to be affordable.” 

Although rates at Bayview have increased over the past two years, rent is still “way, way below what it could be in an open market,” said Bill Witte, president of the Related Companies of California, the real estate firm that built Bayview and continues to manage it.

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