School district makes ‘adjustments’ to rent for staff housing |

School district makes ‘adjustments’ to rent for staff housing

Some see increases, others decreases with new pricing structure

Rent in Aspen School District staff housing will soon follow a universal pricing structure based on location and number of bedrooms, resulting in higher rents for some and lower for others.

District housing director Elen Woods-Mitchell called the changes “adjustments” rather than “increases” because under a new pricing structure, some tenants will pay more than they did before but others will pay less. The new structure goes into effect Aug. 1, but current tenants will have three years to adapt to the adjustments.

Zone 1 includes units in the Aspen core, the Alpine Grove apartments at the Aspen Business Center and single-family homes in the zone, which stretches from the east end of Aspen to just past Buttermilk Ski Area, according to a map Woods-Mitchell provided.

Rent in Zone 1 will be $900 for a one-bedroom, $1,600 for a two-bedroom, $2,100 for a three-bedroom and $2,400 for a four-bedroom, according to a rent structure graphic Woods-Mitchell provided.

Zone 2 includes all other units in the Aspen Business Center as well as units in Snowmass Village and Woody Creek. Rent will be $750 for a one-bedroom, $1,400 for a two-bedroom, $1,950 for a three-bedroom and $2,400 for a four-bedroom.

Zone 3 includes units in Old Snowmass and Basalt. Rent will be $600 for a one-bedroom, $1,200 for a two-bedroom, $1,800 for a three-bedroom and $2,400 for a four-bedroom.

The pricing structure applies to all district-owned units. Some staff who currently live in subletted units are not subject to the rent adjustments at this time.

“Almost all” tenants who are facing rent increases will see adjustments of under $100, and “most people” in that group might pay around $40 more per month, Woods-Mitchell said in a phone interview. Woods-Mitchell said she knew of three tenants “who had kind of bigger increases” of “maybe $300” per month by the end of the three-year adjustment window; at the same time, some tenants in Snowmass Village units will end up saving about $100 or $150 per month, she said.

Some tenants may not see any change at all in the rent they pay. District-owned units on West Hallam Street near the S-curves in Aspen, for instance, are already priced at the Zone 1 rate.

“Obviously, no one likes getting a rent increase letter, but we think it’s very transparent and everyone has the same formula to apply to,” Woods-Mitchell said.

Current tenants who are facing increases in their rent can enter lotteries for district housing in the less expensive zones when those units become available but will not get any rent-adjustment-related priority in those lotteries. The district is offering a 10% rent decrease to tenants who are single parents with dependents on an application basis.

The district also will be absorbing the costs of basic utilities such as water, heat and electricity, effective Aug. 1. Tenants will still have to pay for their cable, phone and internet.

The adjustments aim to establish a standard pricing structure in district housing. Previous rent rates were more variable across different units, according to Woods-Mitchell.

“There were just some inconsistencies when I reviewed the rent entirely across our inventory, and some just seemed really low,” Woods-Mitchell said. “It wasn’t for me to assign any … changes other than to fall into this zone category that we vetted and felt like was really reasonable.”