Kaitlin Mahar: Is New Haven the epicenter of Connecticut’s housing mafia?

aEarlier this month, the New Haven Independent published Aliyya Swaby’s article “Affordable Housing Elusive in Boom,” detailing New Haven residents’ need to find a balance between affordable housing and proper living conditions. While the city is attempting to clean up – for example, many abandoned, broken-down warehouses in the New Haven area are being converted into luxury apartments – New Haven housing was 29.08 percent affordable in 2010.

As a college student in the New Haven area, I’m well aware of the struggle to find affordable housing, and also of one particular rental agency that is significantly perpetuating the problem: Mandy Management.

bMandy Management currently has over fifty rental properties listed, but while their pictures make the apartments seem livable, the conditions under which tenants must live and do business with this agency are dismal. Reviews by current and former residents tell stories of filthy apartments, security issues, and unresolved maintenance emergencies (including no heat and brown water). One woman, Elizabeth L., drove up from Austin, TX after putting down a $350 deposit to take an apartment off the market, only to find it was never even available.

The manager’s (alleged) response? “We don’t owe you anything.”

This is just one example of the conditions New Haven residents are forced to endure in exchange for affordable housing. Options are either new, astronomically-priced palaces or dilapidated, borderline-tenement apartments; there’s no middle ground. New Haven is trying to change the game, but Mandy Management and other, similar monopolists need to play by the rules.

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