Fair Rent has new acting director
NORWALK — Anna Keegan of the Norwalk Fair Rent Department was named acting director on Wednesday.
Previously a civil rights and fair rent investigator for the department, she will be acting as director following former director Adam Bovilsky’s move to head the Norwalk Housing Authority.
During her first meeting with the Fair Rent Commission — which can investigate, mediate and set rent in disputes between landlords and tenants — the commission voted to act upon a problem it has been considering since last year, when it formed the Rental Value Committee.
While commissioners routinely review the market trends, the data they receive from the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service does not include that of buildings that do not use real estate agents, including units advertised solely on Craigslist, Zillow or other sites. Such units include those in Avalon Norwalk and Avalon East Norwalk.
Large, professionally managed apartment complexes that often do not rely on real estate agents have been adding to Norwalk’s housing stock in recent years, and an examination of the rent complaints from large apartment complexes built after 2000 showed rent increases were often substantially higher than those in other buildings.
So as rent complaints rose from segments of the market not tracked by such services, the committee was formed to consider ways to understand the fuller picture.
John Church, who heads the committee, shared a draft of a letter that could be sent to property managers of buildings with 20 or more units in order to receive anonymous information about the units leased within the previous year. Questions include the average listing and closing prices for units of varying sizes.
“The goal is that we’ll send this out by mid-August,” Church said. The commission voted to move forward with the draft, starting by compiling the list of property managers to send letters to.
The resulting data may show trends the commission had not seen previously. However, it will not be used to determine fair rent for individual units. For each specific unit that registers a complaint, the commission looks at whether similarly situated units with similar amenities are comparably priced.