“Why are we still here? Rent hikes at affordable Steamboat options are pushing tenants over the edge

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The Flour Mill apartments provide accommodation for the workforce in Steamboat Springs. In 2021, the property was sold to Birge and Held, an Indianapolis-based company.
John F. Russell / Steamboat Pilot and Today

Rent hikes are nothing new in Steamboat Springs, but as some of the more affordable housing options such as Mountain Village Apartments and Flour Mill Apartments increase their monthly price, the presence of entry-level, lower-priced housing options moderate in the city could become a thing of the past.

Kaitlyn Morris, who lives in Mountain Village, recently learned her rent was going up $400.

Morris shares a similar story to many other nomads who have decided to make Steamboat their long-term home. She worked seasonally in places like Alaska and Olympic National Park before moving to Steamboat to work as a host at Hazie’s restaurant for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.



Morris moved into a shared room in the station’s employee housing complex, The Ponds at Steamboat, which has long functioned as a major base camp for seasonal workers from around the world.

The first time Morris left The Ponds was when she was back a few months after the property she was renting was sold. Then in 2019, stability seemed to be at hand when Morris and two of his friends were approved to sign a long-term lease on a $2,300-a-month three-bedroom apartment in Mountain Village, which, due to his relatively low rates, is a popular housing option for newcomers to town or moving out of employee housing.



“We couldn’t believe we actually had this place,” Morris said. “We were like, ‘We’ve got the money, come on let’s sign it. It’s ours.'”

Morris no longer works for the station. She started her own cleaning business called Spring Cleaners LLC, but said after covering rent and other expenses, she only made a few hundred extra dollars to save.

Morris’ Mountain Village rent rose to $2,500 in 2021, and recently Morris and his roommates were told by other tenants that their rent would go up an additional $400 when they resign from their lease in October.

Morris said her boyfriend will be moving in soon to help offset the higher rent, but the hike still stings.

“Me and my boyfriend were like, ‘why are we still here?'” Morris said. “If they raise it again next year, that’ll probably be it.”

Despite the rising price, Morris said Mountain Village still feels like his only option.

“We’ve searched, but it’s impossible to find anything that’s cheaper, that allows pets, or that’s available and isn’t picked up the second it’s posted,” she said. declared.

The Flour Mill and Main Street Apartments, which are also popular entry-level housing options, increased their rents earlier this year after being purchased by Birge and Held, a private Indianapolis-based real estate investment firm. , Indiana, which manages more than 25,000 units and $4 billion in assets.

“They’ve increased everyone’s rent by $300 or $400 per person,” said Emily Gerde, who manages tenant relations for Ski Town Commercial, the former owner of the Flour Mill and Main Street apartment complexes. “Everyone who was here under us is moving to other places.”

Gerde said his company charged between $1,400 and $1,600 for the studios depending on when the units were recently renovated, but said the studios in the two complexes had reached around $1,900 under new owners. All utilities were also included in the previous owners’ price, she said, but tenants will soon be charged $175 as a fixed utility fee.

“Previously they were hotel rooms – they don’t have individual meters,” Gerde said. “The new company just created an arbitrary, random number of the amount of utilities in addition to rent. It is not according to usage.

Gerde said the new owners had done no remodeling or cleaning to justify the price increase and accused them of being disconnected from their tenants.

To demonstrate his point, Gerde said the Main Street Apartments website features a photo of a mountain that isn’t even in Steamboat. She was referring to a photo of the Maroon Bells near Aspen that appears on the website’s “neighborhood” tab, which says “residents are also near Quarry Mountain, which offers unparalleled views.”

A photo of the Maroon Bells near Aspen appears on the Neighborhood tab of the Main Street Apartments website.
Main Street Apartments website/Screenshot

According to Gerde, the new landlords only employ one liaison officer to deal with tenant concerns.

“A link for probably around 200 units,” Gerde said. “I mean he’s not capable, he can’t keep up.”

Gerde said several tenants she knows have reported the new landlords and are considering taking legal action.

Property managers for Mountain Village, Flour Mill Apartments and Main Street Apartments did not respond to Pilot & Today questions before this article went to print.

Jon Wade, co-founder of The Steamboat Group, said Steamboat’s inflated rental rates are basic supply and demand.

“It benefits me, obviously, but I don’t enjoy it because it makes it harder for the locals,” Wade said. “For me, we are a community. This is why we are special.

Wade said while wages have risen at Steamboat, they have been outpaced by rising rental rates. He believes housing projects that expand Steamboat’s inventory, such as the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s Brown Ranch, should contribute to Steamboat’s housing crisis.

Rising property insurance premiums are also impacting home rental overhead, according to Dax Mattox, a State Farm insurance agent, who said high prices for raw building materials have caused driving up the cost of rebuilding properties, meaning homeowners need to extend their coverage if they want their policies to cover the full cost of a disaster rebuild.

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