Victory

UCSD Graduate Housing 2018 Rent Increase

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UCSD Coast Residents,

Our rent has gone up by as much as 10.2% this year.

We shared this petition and our grievances during a meeting with UCSD's Housing on July 5th in order to work with them to assure affordable housing for current grad students and those to come.  We asked Housing to bring rates to a reasonable level, which to us is down by 2%, so that they are in line with other grad housing communities. Housing will deliberate for one week and will give us a response on July 13, 2018. This is a crucial week and we need more Coast resident signatures to share the support of this petition also with our ARCHAC (Housing’s advisory committee) graduate student representatives, and with the Graduate Student Association.

Please show your support by signing this petition, and please share this with your neighbors at Coast, your fellow grad students, your grad advisors, and even your department chairs.

 Here is why you should be concerned about the drastic rent increase:

1. This increase is unprecedented. Historically (past 8 years), rent increases stayed around 3% each year and were typically posted 2-3 years in advance to be fair to grad students and keep housing affordable for them. See (Plot 1) for historic rental rates. SD County’s housing rental rate increase is 6%, so we beat even this rate at graduate housing.

2. Coast was already paying premium rent. UCSD grad housing more or less settled on a relatively constant increase relative to each other in July of 2010. If we compare Coast to a similar type of housing at Mesa (this would be the North Mesa apartments--they were similar in layout, size, apartment type, etc.), it is clear Coast was already at a premium and this premium consisted of 25%-35% difference in rent. One may reasonably assume this premium was due to Coast’s location and amenities, and designating N Mesa as family housing (which in itself sets Coast apart). But if we decide to compare Coast to other 2-bd Mesa units, Coast’s rent has still been at a historical premium despite the vast difference in apartment sizes. But what happened in July of 2017? Coast’s rent began to diverge from the rate at which the Mesa and OMS rent increased. On July 1, 2018, Coast’s rent started to diverge even more. As we all know, the reason given by Housing for this divergence is the “Coast prime market rate adjustment.” The big question we all have been asking is: Why are Coast residents asked to pay an increasing premium for its “prime market location,” when they were already paying a premium on rental rate and on the rate per square foot? (Plot 2 and Plot 3)

3. These increases will set precedent for future rental rate increases, which will build on the current rent. HDH up until last year thought that a 3% increase in rent is reasonable. Last year rent increased 6% and this year 10%. How high will the increase be next year, and is there a guarantee for oversight on the increase?

4. Graduate student salaries are not increasing to match. Graduate student salary increase rates have hovered around 4% over the last 3 years. With rent increasing as much as 10.2%, UCSD will be putting a lot of extra stress on its grad students . HDH should be taking stagnant grad salaries into account when it makes these decisions. Affordable housing is defined by the government as no more than 30% of income. All types of Coast housing (studio, 1-bd, sharing a 2-bd, families in a 2-bd) are well above this 30% mark(Plot 4).

5. The ARCHAC rent decision-making process seems to involve haphazard steps guided by feelings and perceptions rather than a qualitative analysis. The reader is referenced to p. 10-13 of the ARCHAC March 23, 2018 minutes. We argue that there is a fundamental qualitative analysis which can be undertaken to limit the subjectivity of the decision-making process. Such analysis does not seem to have taken place at the 2018-2019 rental rates voting decision meetings.

6. Some ARCHAC members (the UCSD Housing Advisory Committee) have shared their surprise at this 10.2% rate of increase. Coast did not have a voting representative at the deciding meeting. They argue they did not have the complete information when the committee presented the rent up for vote since the final quoted rate did not include electricity (which is now being factored into the rent rate at Coast, the apartment complex with the highest rate of increase).

 7. HDH is creating segregated housing by singling out Coast. While it may not be their intention, by raising rent drastically at Coast compared to other communities, HDH is singling out and segregating housing. Coast Apartments’ rent (which already had one of the highest rent per foot of all grad housing) is now as high as $1,485 a month. Coast Apartments were already unattainable to many grad students because of its 2-year-long wait-list, and now even a smaller number of grad students will be able to live here due to the high rent price (basically only STEM grad students, or students with additional income will be able to live here). This is alarming as many grad students consider it to be one of the few family friendly options left to grad students now that Mesa is on its way out. Is this the goal of Housing?

8. ARCHAC beliefs are disconnected from the experience of Coast residents and do not represent our view of living at Coast. There is a general view that Coast should pay a premium because of its location close to the ocean and its amenities.  The fact is that Coast rent was already at a premium (see point 2 above). ARCHAC members argue for subjective factors as considerations for higher Coast rent.  This is unacceptable: all the new amenities were placed at Mesa, restaurants and grocery stores are not walking distance to Coast, etc. There is a give and take for all grad housing complexes.  Coast can not be singled out in such an extreme manner any longer!

9. Rent increases for what? How does Coast Apartments compare to the other grad housing options at UCSD? We understand that Mesa Nueva needs to be subsidized by everyone, but why is Coast’s rent alone going up so drastically? Grad housing burdens should be shared equally amongst the grad housing community, not just amongst our small community of ~140 residents, where what could be a very small increase per person distributed amongst thousands of grad residents is a huge and unaffordable increase for each of us. Our average rate increase, 9.7% including electricity (7.1% not including electricity) is higher than the average Mesa Nueva rate, 6.4%. Keep in mind that Mesa Nueva has better cost/square foot, amenities (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer), and community amenities (gym, pool, pub). What amenities do we have at Coast?

10. Where is the affordable family-friendly housing they promised, which is listed as one major reason for the rent increase? Many graduate students at UCSD have families. There are few family friendly options left for grad students now that Mesa is on the way out. In a series of meetings about Mesa Nueva and Nuevo West last year, many residents expressed their concerns that there are not enough kid-friendly spaces and amenities in the new constructions (limited green spaces and playgrounds, no tubs, etc.), and that the new rates were not affordable for many grad students, especially for single income families. Coast was one of the family-friendly options left, but not anymore with these rent increases. At these meetings, we were assured that housing would be kept as low as possible. See https://hdh.ucsd.edu/arch/docs/north-mesa-minutes-9-20-2017.pdf for example.

11. Adding to the rent issue... Rent is increasing, which is putting pressure on grad students to move out of grad housing into communities outside of La Jolla, but UCSD is not doing an adequate job at providing parking on campus to commuter grad students (and public transportation is not always a viable option in San Diego, especially for grad students with families).


Our aim is to continue to share this petition and our grievances with those concerned with the matter (from graduate housing residents to the graduate student body in general and to University staff) in order to work with them to assure affordable housing for current grad students and those to come. 


Please show your support by signing below, and please share this with your neighbors at Coast, other fellow grad students, your graduate advisors, and department chairs.

 

 

 



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