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    Housing Solutions Lab
    Saturday, April 01, 2023

    Rising rent leads one woman to ‘roomies’

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    At age 58, Janet Rose never envisioned a series of events would lead her to temporarily sleep in her car or wind up looking for a roommate.

    The divorced mother of two adult children, who works long hours slinging coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin’ Donuts in Mystic, says the soaring rents had forced her hand.

    As of this month, Rose finds herself sharing a home with three 20-something roommates ― two Navy divers and an Electric Boat engineer ― in Norwich and not only making the best of it, but enjoying what she expects will be a temporary situation until she can save the funds to buy a home.

    “At 58 years old, I didn’t expect to be somebody’s roommate but it’s been great,” Rose said. “It’s the best option for people like me who can’t afford these outrageous rents.”

    Rose was a longtime New London resident who in 2009 moved with her family into a three-bedroom apartment on Buchanan Road when it was still managed by the New London Housing Authority.

    She was paying $440 per month, which was income-based, when the property was taken over and renovated by the Carabetta Management Company and renamed Pride Point.

    Rent increased every year and was $1,100 per month by the time Rose was forced to move out by the escalating costs and an eviction notice. Her children have since moved to their own places.

    She was served with a “notice to quit possession” on Dec. 2, 2021, at the expiration of her lease. It is the first step in the eviction process. Rose was told to move out by Jan. 2, 2022. Carabetta alleged that Rose had “failed to comply with the certification and recertification requirements” of the lease.

    “I wanted out anyway. They were trying to raise (rent) to $1,300. I can’t afford that,” Rose said. “Rent has started getting unaffordable. What they’re trying to do is get the families out. They’re money hungry.”

    Rose, who was working with a real estate agent on a loan to buy a house at the time, said she simply made a mistake and was late in getting in the required paperwork. The eviction process killed her chance to get a loan, she said.

    Rose never got to the point where her belongings were seized, but did find herself living in her car for a period of time and an acquaintance’s coach for a few months after moving out of her New London home.

    The most difficult part at first was “finding a place to park the car where the cops won’t bug me,” she said.

    Rose said she is appalled at the rate at which rents are rising, but was promised she and other tenants would be “grandfathered in” and not have to face rents that rose more than $50 to $75 per month in a year. It was part of the agreement she said was reached between the New London Housing Authority and Carabetta.

    Rose thinks it is also the reason Carabetta will seek any opportunity to evict longtime tenants.

    Carabetta Management Company started the eviction process and reached a stipulated agreement, which Rose said she complied with and was out by Aug. 31, 2022. Carabetta, however, pursued eviction process in court, claiming she was not out by the stipulated date.

    A representative from Carabetta did not respond to a request for comment.

    “It’s been hard enough to deal with this hardship of homelessness without Carabetta Management Co. adding ‘salt to our wounds,’” Rose wrote in a letter to the court. “With these proceedings on our record, it has hindered our ability to acquire adequate housing and this is not the time of year to be homeless and forced to live in your car.”

    Carabetta’s case was tossed out by Judge Francis Foley, who issued a dismissal on Nov. 18, 2022. It was one of the few cases heard in Housing Court that day that ended with a favorable outcome for the tenant. Rose let out a victorious “yes” as she left the courtroom.

    “It was like the Eiffel Tower coming off my shoulders. Within a week it was off my credit report,” Rose said.

    But the eviction was also something she had to explain when she started searching for a new place to live. She said she was lucky to find her current landlord while searching roomies.com. The two came to an agreement on rent that was cheaper than what she would be paying in New London.

    In Norwich, there is a shared living room and kitchen and enough bathrooms to accommodate the four roommates, she said. She was also allowed to bring her 23-year-old cat, Bandit.

    “I was hesitant. I’m not used to being someone’s roommate. But sometimes I’ll come home after a long day and one of my roommates is cooking dinner,” she said.

    Rose said she’s heard from her former neighbors that her former three-bedroom unit in New London is now being marketed for $1,800.


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