Tenants fear rent hikes are pending at Morton Village

Morton Village Apartments resident Sondra Hardy spoke during a rally outside of the building last Saturday. City Life/Vida Urbana photo

A crowd numbering about 75 gathered in the courtyard of the 207-unit Morton Village Apartments in Mattapan last Saturday to protest the likelihood of rent hikes and displacements in the near future. The rally came just weeks after Avanath Capital Management, an out-of-state real estate investor, bought the property.

Saturday’s action was organized by the Morton Village Tenant Association and City Life-Vida Urbana.

“This is home. And I can’t afford to have significant rent increases, said Sheila Gunn, a resident of Morton Village for more than 40 years. “This place needs to remain affordable. People all over Boston are being squeezed out.”

Gunn, 65, explained that while she hopes to retire soon, she wouldn’t be able to afford a major rent hike on what will be a fixed income.

The Morton Village Tenant Association has hosted several virtual meetings in recent weeks, and more than 100 residents signed a letter to Avanath Capital Management asking for a meeting and “long-term housing stability.” The association hopes to negotiate multi-year leases for current residents with a 2 percent rent increase per year.

Avanath Capital Management controls 10,000 rental units across the US. City Life/Vida Urbana alleges that neither the longtime owner of the complex, the Marik family, nor Avanath included any tenants in discussions of the sale. The day before the rally, tenants received a letter under their doors from the new owners proposing a virtual meeting within two weeks.

“We collectively need to save the very roof over our heads,” said Sondra Hardy, a 25-year Village resident. “Do not meet with them individually. We are united!”