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Moving out: Landlord drops HUD, family compelled to move

Gene Binstock moves furniture from his Gladstone apartment on Saturday. He and wife, Wanda, packed their possessions Saturday as mom, Lorraine Bosch, sat in what would be their apartment for a few more days. Bosch does little walking because of hip surgery. They were recently told their rent would be increasing.

Fees, expenses and mounting levels of paperwork are among the reasons a Dickinson real estate company has opted out of the Housing and Urban Development program for affordable housing, officials said. The unfortunate side effect -- residents feel their only options are pay a higher rent or leave.

Wanda Binstock, a former renter at Kolling Apartments in Gladstone, once qualified for the HUD program. She and her family recently moved to Dickinson because they were informed their $500 rent was increasing.

Peterson's Property Management, the parent company of Kolling Apartments, said it is leaving the HUD program Dec. 1. In its place, the company will utilize the Stark County Housing Authority in Dickinson for affordable housing administration.

Binstock no longer qualifies for HUD because she makes too much money, she said, so her boss found her a rental house in Dickinson for $1,000 per month.

"They're chasing old people out of Williston and Dickinson now, too," said Lorraine Bosch, Binstock's mother.

Binstock said she had mixed feelings about the move, but added that it worked out.

"I'm close to my grandbaby and close to my work," Binstock said.

Jean Peterson, an owner of Peterson's Property Management, said participating in the HUD program has put a lot of financial and regulatory pressure on the company.

"We didn't have any control of the rent," Peterson said. "They (HUD) control us."

HUD chooses the tenants that live in apartments that qualify for low-income occupants.

Another reason the company is leaving HUD is because it had to hire a secretary to manage paperwork, Peterson said, adding that fines and expenses have gotten out of hand.

Peterson said the company didn't know what to charge for rent upon leaving HUD, so she called the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce to find high and low prices for apartments. A one-bedroom apartment costs between $1,000 to $1,400. A two-bedroom dwelling ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. A three-bedroom is $2,000 to $2,500.

Peterson added that she wasn't sure what prices the company would use, but said rent would be in the lower range. She added that occupants who qualify for HUD pay 30 percent of their income toward rent a month.

Carla Sanner, a Stark County Housing Authority administrative assistant, said Peterson's Property Management is working to make sure all the tenants that qualified for HUD in the past will have the opportunity to stay in their apartments.

"No one is being forced to leave," Sanner said. "They are still receiving the exact same assistance. They are just receiving it through our program instead of subsidized housing."

Companies may opt out of the HUD program, said Joel Manske, North Dakota HUD field office director. He added more apartments are getting out of the program.

"Each of them has a different set of circumstances," Manske said. "It's unfortunate that they would leave the program."

Losing apartments in the HUD programs is a big concern, Manske said. He suggested that the local, state and federal government work together to find a solution to rising prices.

Until that happens, there is nothing residents can do except pay the increased rent or find another home.

"Without a diverse housing inventory, we have certainly seen and will continue to see significant impacts and loss of our root populations, the historic families that have lived here for many generations as a result of their ability to being able to afford housing in their communities," Manske said. "That housing stock has to be able to support the dynamics of a community with the significant influence of the impact of the oil and gas industry."