Sunday, January 31, 2016 3:19 AM

Hi Kara,

I found a renewal request taped to my front door. FYI, this is what happens to many of the notices taped to tenants’ doors:


Photo taken 1/25/2016

But I can’t complain about the extra litter, because I’ve learned a lot from it, including the fact that some of my neighbors in 2-bedroom apartments are paying the same or less than I’m paying for a 1-bedroom.

When I signed my last renewal, I wondered why I wasn’t signing a 12-month lease. Now I realize that when someone is forced into a lease for a shorter term, it just means the apartment manager gets to increase the rent more often. When you set the renewal rate for a 12-month lease higher than all the rest (except month-to-month), you’re forcing tenants into shorter-term leases, and that results in an increase in your profits, right? I suppose it’s business as usual, but it doesn’t seem right to me.

I’m not sure what to say about the renewal rates indicated in the notice. Have you made improvements to my apartment or the property that I’m unaware of? Have you determined how much I’ve been over-charged for utilities through CUBS? Why do you think this apartment deserves a higher monthly rent? Maybe it’s for the ghost that resides in my broken toilet, which makes noise all day long, irritating the hell out of me?

Did you know that this state has the highest unemployment rate in the country? And as I’m sure you know, there was no increase in my Social Security Disability income this year. Where should I get this extra money you want to charge me for rent? Perhaps you can direct me to a place where they pay for giving blood?

It appears that the young man whom you hired to pick up trash has been promoted. Are you planning on filling this position sometime in the future? I recently filled two tall kitchen garbage bags with outside trash. (You’re welcome.) Since you’re saving money by not paying someone to pick up the trash, maybe you can deduct these services from my renewal rate?

This is what I’d like to see: A renewal lease for the same amount (or cheaper to put me in line with my neighbors), with a 12-month term, so I won’t have to go through the renewal process again for at least another year.

I await your response.

Johnna Stahl

Mon, Feb 1, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi Johnna,

I reviewed your account and you have stayed at the same rental rate since you moved in back in April of 2013. The renewal rate that is automatically scheduled for your apartment this year is set at $745, plus the $30 for your washer and dryer, for a 10 month lease term.

I was able to get a lower rate approved for you. I was able to get the base renewal price down to $730. So the new total monthly rent would be $760.00 including the washer and dryer, and I am able to do this for a 12 month lease term.

You have shared that you have some financial struggles with your income on a fixed basis, so I completely understand that any increase in your monthly rent is going to be a challenge. Unfortunately, the increases are mandated by our company and their rent increase schedules that they have in place and since your apartment has not had any rent increases since you moved in, it must have an increase on this renewal.

If this price works for you, let me know and we will have your new lease prepared. If you choose not to renew your lease, remember that you will need to give us a 30-day notice to vacate.

If you are unable to stay with us at the new rental rate, I have listed several other nearby apartment communities that are part of the Affordable Housing Program and offer rental rates that may work better with your budget.

Arroyo Villas
Ventana Ranch Apartments
Westpark Apartments
Arrowhead Ridge Apartments (Rio Rancho)

You should be able to check their prices and availability for most, if not all, of these communities online.

On another note, our porters are still employed and are on a schedule to get to every area each week. I will definitely have them do a more thorough job around your area, since you have reported that the area has been rough with regards to trash and other debris.

Please let me know what you decide with regards to your lease renewal.

Best wishes,

Kara Buchman, CAM
Community Manager
Vistas at Seven Bar Ranch Apts.
CORE Realty Holdings Management Inc.
Office (505) 792.7227
Fax (505)792.5005


Photo taken 2/1/2016

Tue, Feb 2, 2016 8:54 pm

Well, Kara, I hope you’re happy. I’ve just spent the last days of the month snacking on saltine crackers, and now you’re raising my rent way past my ability to pay. I wish I could afford a lawyer, but you can bet that I’ll be looking for some kind of legal help.

Do you know how expensive it is to move? Perhaps one of your employees mentioned that I traded a piece of chocolate cake for a coupon for a free haircut last month. Yes, after more than two years, I was finally able to get my haircut because I had a free coupon. I couldn’t afford to buy chicken last month, and now you’re forcing me to do the same this month.

I just don’t know what to say to this, except:

Please tell me why my neighbors in 2-bedroom apartments are paying less than me.

And I want you to respond to all of my CUBS issues. Like now.

I want my toilet fixed. Now.

I also want my washer and dryer serviced with whatever maintenance is required.

You know I have no choice but to sign another lease. I hope you’ll be happy with your new, extremely angry tenant.

Yes, I’ll be posting this on my blog. In fact, I’ll be polling my neighbors and posting how much they pay in rent and utilities, too. Yeah, we’re gonna have fun this year — I’ll be losing weight, posting pictures of the trash your employees fail to pick up, and the name of these apartments will be in a lot more Google searches.

Johnna Stahl

DSC00550 (2)

DSC00551 (2)

(These two photos and the featured photo were taken on 2/1/2016.)

15 thoughts on “No chicken for me again this month

  1. Are there any tenant rights organizations in your area? I used to be a tenant activist here in NY but the laws are totally different there and I imagine tenant protections may not be the best. If you do end up having to move you might try contacting some local churches to see if they will help you do so. They might be able to help you with food issues as well. It is a long shot but worth a try. You are paying a lot of money for a 1-bedroom in New Mexico and from the sound of things they are not keeping the place up. You might try contacting that corporation directly and see if they might adjust your rent. Again, long shot but worth a try. With the economy in the toilet they have some nerve raising rents that are already excessive for your area.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Do tenant’s rights organizations really exist? Sure, in New York, but in New Mexico? Well, I’ll be checking into it, so we’ll see what I come up with. Thanks for trying to help. πŸ™‚


  2. I would move, especially if it’s going to save you money in the long run! There has to be something better and less expensive than the one you have. I paid $500 for a one-bedroom apt. there and everything was included. It wasn’t the nicest apt. but it worked within my budget at that time. So are you going to just stay there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t save any money to pay movers. And moving is really painful for me. I only have one more move in me, which I hope will be to Colorado. I’m not waiting around for New Mexico to legalize weed. πŸ™‚


  3. I noticed when I checked out rental rates in Las Cruces that there was a huge variation in rents for the same kind of units in the same complex. often from $450 to $750 a month being typical for a 2-bedroom. I called a few places and it turns out the lower advertised rate is for low income people. Those with more income have to pay a higher rate.

    I am wondering if your current complex has a similar rate structure, and you are paying a higher rate for a one bedroom than others are with two bedrooms since they based the rate on your previous income which is higher. Now that your income is lower, perhaps you qualify for the lower rate. If they advertise a lower rate to the public it seems they should not be able to deny this to you simply because you are an existing tenant. See discussion here:

    I would suggest being very nice and non-confrontational on this issue. There is a tenant blacklist in Texas and perhaps New Mexico as well where anyone who acts up or ends up in housing court for any reason will end up on the list and have a tough time getting a rental. Google tenant blacklist.

    You might be able to get an answer to your problem on this forum. It is NY-oriented but they do have a section for out-of-staters.

    Overview of New Mexico tenant laws

    If you contact the New Mexico State Attorney General’s Office they may be able to give you more info.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this information. My head hurts too much to even think about trying to resolve this right now, and the manager hasn’t even responded to my emails (I sent more than a few.) Of course, now I regret my anger, but it’s hard to regret being honest.

      Since the manager is well aware of my financial difficulties, I’m wondering why she hasn’t made an offer of a reduced rate based on my income level. I mean, it seems like she would be obligated by law to do so. And I don’t understand how she and CUBS (the utility company) are able to refuse to respond to my letters.

      I’ve asked for the renewal lease to be delivered to my apartment, because of my pain levels and I told her I’m so angry, I’m afraid of what I might say. (Honestly.) But that hasn’t happened, so now I’m worried she’s going to give me a notice of eviction because I haven’t signed the renewal yet… Really looking forward to dragging my ass into the office tomorrow to take care of this.

      Again, thanks so much for the help. πŸ™‚


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