Truscott studios a bit pricey? |

Truscott studios a bit pricey?

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Starting next month, some renters at the city’s Truscott Place affordable housing complex will see their rent drop by more than $100 a month.

The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority has concluded the $964 it charges for a 392-square-foot studio is too much and will drop the monthly rent to $850 in November. Current tenants won’t see a rebate, but they’ll start writing smaller rent checks.

Renters who are leaving the studios for other digs all cite the cost, according to Bill Tuite, property management supervisor for the housing office. The price of a studio at Truscott competes with rents on the free market for tenants whose income level places them in Category 3 of the housing authority’s system for setting rents, he noted.

There are eight of the Category 3 studios in Phase I of the Truscott Place expansion, completed last year. Currently, three of the units are vacant and a fourth will open up at the end of the month.

“As people come in and we tell them the units are available, they say they don’t want to spend that [much] money on a studio,” said Maureen Dobson, housing director.

Rents for Category 3 one- and two-bedroom units in Phase I will the stay the same, while the rent for Category 2 units and Resident-Occupied (RO) studios will see about a 2.15 percent hike, consistent with the Consumer Price Index. Rent hikes go into effect when a lease is up for renewal.

Therefore, the rent for a Category 2 studio, for example, will rise from $645 per month to $659.

The rent at Truscott includes utilities.

Truscott Place, expanded by 99 new units last year, includes 58 apartments in what is called Phase I and 41 units in Phase II. The complex is located next to the city’s golf course. Phase II was partially financed through low-income housing tax credits and is subject to a different rent/income structure than other deed-restricted rental units, including Phase I.

Rents in Phase II were restructured earlier this year; studio prices were dropped from $829 to $660 for a 392-square-foot unit after the housing office had difficulty finding tenants for them.

Anyone interested in a Truscott unit, or an apartment at any of the other rental complexes managed by the housing office, can now put their name on a waiting list maintained by the office.

The once-cumbersome list had been frozen for a year while staffers figured out how to better manage it and purge the names of everyone who wasn’t really looking for a unit.

The housing office now advertises rental units in the classified section of the Aspen Daily News on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; prospective tenants may sign up on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The unit is offered to the individual with priority at the end of the day on Thursday, Dobson explained.

The housing office no longer calls people on the wait list; anyone who is interested in a unit must notify the office.

Anyone on the wait list, however, has priority over those who respond to an ad for a unit, but aren’t on the list. If no one on the list wants the apartment, it is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to a qualified employee who responds to the advertisement.

The housing office manages Truscott Place, the Smuggler Mountain Apartments and Aspen Country Inn (where senior citizens have a priority).

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