Beltline Investor Conspires to Raise Rent on AHA Voucher Holders


(APN) ATLANTA — In a rare admission of intent, a real estate investor in the Beltline area, James Orr, wrote on his blog about how realtors should invest in rental properties in the area, accept vouchers for displaced public housing residents, and then raise rents as property values skyrocket around the Beltline.

The blog post is currently available on Orr’s website at:

On Orr’s blog post, he writes about a two-bedroom one bath duplex, 900 square feet, in the 30314 zip code. He writes that a “preferred investor” in the Atlanta area told him about the property, and this investor has gotten tired of being a landlord.

Orr then suggests displaced public housing residents as potential tenants to an investor.

“I have a close relationship with Atlanta Housing Authority. AHA will pay up to $750 for a 2 bedroom in this area. According to AHA, due to the demolition of project housing across the US; starting in June/2008 – 342 families will need housing in addition to current need,” Orr writes.

“More families will be added to this list in July, September and finally Jan/2009; AHA anticipates over 1700 families will be displaced in Atlanta and in need of housing,” Orr writes.

However, unbeknownst to these residents, Orr suggests the landlord can raise the rent after just one year.

“AHA requires that all participants remain in the property for 2 years; AHA will allow for rental increase after the expiration of the annual lease,” Orr writes.

“It gets better; this property is walking distance from the Beltline,” Orr writes.

“The Beltline is a one-of-a-kind rail/trail, parks and mixed development plan to link 45 neighborhoods. They have started construction of the Southwest Beltline project in late January/2008. This property is located in the Southwest of Atlanta. The Beltline has a five year plan,” Orr writes.

“Anyone purchasing this property should let it sit/collect the rent, allow the market to correct itself and reap the benefits,” Orr writes.

The problem is, AHA will only pay voucher subsidies up to the fair market rent value of housing.

Fair market rent is determined by dividing Greater Metro Atlanta up into a few submarkets. Fair market rent in AHA’s submarkets will likely not keep pace with Beltline development in specific areas.

Therefore, based on his proposed investment plan, it is unlikely the duplex Orr is advertising will remain as voucher housing for long.

Mr. Orr did not return two voice messages from Atlanta Progressive News.

“Our concern has been that looking at AHA’s policies and the City’s enactment of the TADs [tax allocation districts], we see the making of a perfect storm to create broad scale gentrification of Southwest Atlanta with significant displacement of residents in public housing and homeowners, who we know by research commissioned by Georgia Stand Up, are dealing with significant increases in property taxes due to real estate speculation in the area,” Lindsay Jones, attorney for the City-wide Resident Advisory Board for public housing residents, and others, told Atlanta Progressive News.

“We’re looking at displacement… The inevitable displacement of persons from rental properties when the redevelopment opportunities for the real estate speculators take place, as illustrated by this advertisement,” Jones said.

“These are the very concerns of course the residents in public housing have been trying to address with the City, the Housing Authority, and HUD [the US Department of Housing and Urban Development] as violations of the Fair Housing Act,” Jones said.

Jones agreed with APN’s analysis that the fair market rent of the Atlanta submarkets which include parts of the Beltline, will likely be unable to keep up pace with the rents in close proximity to the Beltline.

“They’re diluting the impact of the Beltline by having an area [to determine Fair market rent] larger than the Beltline area,” Jones said.

“You’ll see displacement close to Beltline and it will move out… So as to create an exclusionary policy, where the closer you are to the Beltline, you are excluded, because you can’t use Section 8 certificates,” Jones said.

“But as the Beltline moves out… by the time they [property values] catch up to the whole region you’ll have major displacement,” Jones said.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at

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