Rents could go up at Aspen’s Truscott Place housing | AspenTimes.com

Rents could go up at Aspen’s Truscott Place housing

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Tenants in the Phase I section of Aspen’s Truscott Place affordable housing development could see rent increases of 5 percent within the next six years.

City budget planners, citing a large disparity that has been the result of flat rates in the Phase I buildings since 2004, say they want to bring the costs of living in the two phases of the development to an even amount.

While the rates in Phase I have been frozen for the last six years, rates in Phase II have increased 16 percent during that same period. The Phase I increase is proposed to be an incremental one that happens from 2012 to 2016.

Budget planners told Aspen City Council members Tuesday night during a budget work session that the disparity is problematic because tenants living in the Phase II building see lower prices for similar living quarters and apply for transfers to the Phase I building.

Transfers from one building to the other cost twice what a normal turnover does because maintenance crews have to work on two apartments, instead of just one.

Currently, tenants in Phase I pay $672 a month for a studio apartment, $790 for a two-bedroom unit and $906 for a three-bedroom. In the Phase II building, tenants pay $763 a month for a studio, $1,018 for a two-bedroom and $1,198 for a three-bedroom.

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Under the plan proposed by the city’s housing department, studio tenants in Phase I would actually pay more than studio tenants in Phase II by 2016.

Monthly Phase I prices for studio, two- and three-bedroom apartments would be $858, $1,008 and $1,156, respectively, while studio, two- and three-bedroom apartments in Phase II would cost $839, $1,113 and $1,310, respectively.

Over the last year, there were 80 turnovers in the development, according to a housing fund report issued to the City Council.

The development is part of the city of Aspen’s affordable housing program.

Several significant capital projects are planned next year for the Truscott development, including $190,000 on drainage improvements, $120,000 for unit renovations and $100,000 to renovate the concrete stairs in the complex.

Capital projects from 2008 to 2013 are projected to average $360,000, but that figure is expected to drop sharply in the following seven years, averaging $14,000.

An in-depth capital reserve study is being conducted. But preliminary numbers for the fund, which is projected to sit at a little more than $1 million this year, are expected to grow to $3 million by 2020.

The city also wants to monitor each unit’s electricity individually as part of an energy conservation initiative. That initiative is expected to save the Truscott housing fund $17,000 next year.

Mayor Mick Ireland suggested in Tuesday’s meeting creating a tiered model of charging for electricity that would provide incentive to use less power.

Housing fund administrators are also planning to take utilities out of the rent price next year and charge an extra $25 a month for them.

ahedge@aspentimes.com

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