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INCREASE IN '91 RENT HARDSHIP FOR TENANT

Q RECENTLY, I SIGNED my new lease for 1991 on my apartment at the Shoreline complex.

The new lease calls for an increase in my monthly rent from $122 to $237, even though my only income is from Social Security and county Social Services. It is my opinion that all of these apartments are really below housing standards and I can't understand why I have to pay so much more. All of the tenants here are getting big rent increases and they really have us over a barrel. I don't think this is right and would appreciate your help.

-- J.C., Buffalo
A IT MAY SEEM and, indeed, be a hardship for you to pay an increase in your rent but Ophelia P. Alexander, a spokeswoman for the Shoreline Apartments, explains, "Her rent was raised because her total household income has increased.

"Elizabeth James of our office explained with documentation that we are governed by the New York state Division of Housing and Community Renewal with regulations established by Housing and Urban Development.

"We must adhere to these regulations; when there is a decrease or increase of household income, we must complete an interim change and must adjust the tenant's rent to reflect that change. In this particular case, it was a change based on the income verification she submitted to our office.

"In the event that her income decreases and she submits verification of such, we would compute her income and make the appropriate changes. We will gladly explain to her again, step by step, the process used to determine her present rental rate. The sole reason was the increase in her household income."

News Power is designed to help persons who feel baffled, cheated or ignored. Send your problems by mail -- mail ONLY -- to News Power, Buffalo News, 1 News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

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