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Pacific Crest admits overcharging tenant

By Stephen Floyd

A Silverton apartment complex has admitted in court to overcharging one of its tenants and has agreed to pay thousands in damages, including eight months of overcharged rent.

Pacific Crest Apartments LLC has offered to pay $3,455, in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees, to resolve a lawsuit filed by Gregory Marlowe for increasing Marlowe’s rent last year beyond the law-allowed percentage.

Marlowe’s lawyer, Salem housing and real estate attorney Matthew G. Shepard, agreed to these terms in a court filing June 3. Marlowe told Our Town he has yet to receive payment.

Marlowe filed suit April 27 in Marion County Circuit Court, describing how Pacific Crest increased his monthly payments from $855 to $945 effective Sept, 1, 2021, a difference of 10.5 percent. However state law at the time allowed for an increase of no more than 9.2 percent, which for Marlowe would have been $933.66 per month.

Pacific Crest admitted in the June 3 filing that it overcharged Marlowe and agreed to repay $720 in overcharged rent, plus $2,565 in statutory damages and $170 in interest.

In addition to damages, Marlowe requested his rent be reduced back to $855 per month. The June 3 filing did not address this issue, but Marlowe said he was informed by Shepard that the original demands had been accepted.

This was Marlowe’s second recent effort to sound the alarm on unethical practices at Pacific Crest. In January, he contacted Our Town after Pacific Crest notified residents that during 2022 each unit would be remodeled, obligating tenants to vacate during the work and allowing Pacific Crest to increase monthly rent significantly after upgrades were complete.

Pacific Crest currently advertises two-bedroom units for $1,599 per month. The same time last year, two-bedroom units were listed as $1,170 per month, according to archive.org.

Oregon law allows landlords to perform no-fault evictions when units are being renovated, and to increase rent to reflect the improved value of the units. However, Marlowe questioned the legitimacy of the renovations when tenants, to his knowledge, had not been requesting the improvements and Pacific Crest was not struggling to find occupants.

“Arguably it is all about a single word: MONEY, although some people might instead emphasize the twin words greed and callousness,” wrote Marlowe in January. “…Pacific Crest had previously functioned as the most affordable such source [of housing] for people of either moderate or lower incomes. But no more.”

Renters willing to share their experiences with the renovations or rent hikes may reach out to [email protected] or 503-845-9499. Pacific Crest is managed by the property management firm Blanton Turner, of Seattle. 

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