Harvard To Raise Tenant Rents

Harvard Planning and Real Estate (HPRE), landlord to over 1,700 Harvard graduate students and affiliates, has proposed a 3 percent increase in its average rent.

This rate is the maximum increase for continuing tenants. New tenants will pay a different rate for Harvard housing, with increases as high as 9 percent.

HPRE determined the rent increases based on an analysis of more than 5,000 Cambridge and Somerville apartments, according to a press release.

But many of Harvard's tenants are still dissatisfied with the announcement.

"Harvard is outrageously expensive in all respects, so I wasn't surprised," said Alice Hendricks, who lives in Peabody Terrace.


Sally H. Zeckhauser, the University's vice-president for administration, could not be reached for comment last night.

Residents showed some skepticism toward the process and particularly expressed concern for students who to come to Harvard from smaller cities.

"It's hard to believe what they charge are market prices, but I guess I trust what they're doing," said Matt A. Litfin, who also lives in Peabody Terrace. "People who come here from other parts of the country and the world are not used to it."

"[Rent increases] are fine as long as they don't become prohibitive," Hendricks said. "I think it's going to be a problem for a lot of families."

Some residents, however, continue to feel that Harvard housing location and services justify the rates.

"I think the increases are very reasonable. The housing was the cheapest I could find. The location is unbeatable, and I get all the benefits of Harvard housing, like 24 hour maintenance," said Cathy H. Ahn '96, who lives at 8 Plympton Street.

The exact increase for tenants depends upon whether or not they live in previously rent controlled housing. Rental rates for previously rent-controlled apartments will increase a flat 3 percent. For other tenants, rent will increase either to the market value determined by HPRE or 3 percent, whichever is less.

For new tenants, rent will increase to market price.

These new rates are only a proposal, and comments and complaints can be submitted until February 13 to the Faculty Advisory Committee on Affiliated Housing