Logan Square Residents Protest Sudden, Hefty Rent Hikes From M. Fishman And Co.
Logan Square's Saturday rent hike protest (photo via Kimmy Noonen on Facebook)
Logan Square residents took to the streets on Saturday to protest rent hikes that amount to mass evictions in buildings owned by M. Fishman and Co., a local property management company run by Mark Fishman and based in the area. About 200 residents attended the protest, according to CBS.
Hosted by anti-gentrification organization Somos Logan Square, the protest started at 11 a.m. and ended at the Logan Theatre (which Fishman owns), according to posts in the associated Facebook event. Fishman has hiked some tenants' rents as much as $600 a month recently. One of Fishman's tenants, Beth Berringer, told CBS that her rent had been raised $360 a month and no longer included water, heat, and garbage service.
“I’m a full-time student, I’m only working part time and it’s definitely a hardship,” Berringer told CBS. “Everyone in the building I’ve met can’t afford it or has to move.”
Tenants have 30 days to scrape together the new rent or get out.
Fishman has told residents that he's simply setting rent at the market rate, but "[s]ince he owns a large percentage of Logan Square he's pretty much setting market price," Aoiaremi Espinzoa told ABC. Fishman owns roughly 80 Logan Square buildings, 23 of which are currently listed on the M. Fishman website. Fishman rarely comments to the media, but recently spoke to DNAInfo. He said that he has improved the neighborhood by investing in it early.
"I believe the fundamentals of real estate were (and are) as good as it gets: excellent building stock, plentiful green space and transportation," he wrote in an email to DNAinfo. He also framed the rent hikes as part of a noble "reinvestment" in the area: "This reinvestment in Logan Square building stock is important toward the continued growth and vibrancy of our neighborhood," he said. Surprisingly, Fishman did not express any concern about the anti-gentrification witches who have tried to exorcise him and his ilk from the neighborhood.