A Big Easy battle over rent in historic apartments

AP News

11/3/2011 1:01:25 PM - AP News
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Angry tenants of a historic 19th century apartment building in New Orleans' French Quarter are squabbling with the city government about recent rent increases.The Upper Pontalba Apartment buildings are owned by the city of New Orleans. A board appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu hiked rents by as much as 40 percent, citing appraisals that indicate rents have long been too low. City officials say it's about getting the cash-strapped city the best value for its property.But a group of tenants is fighting back with a lawsuit, saying the rent hikes were approved at illegal meetings. The tenants also complain that even though the apartments are in a highly popular and historic location, they have numerous maintenance problems and lack the amenities and security usually found in high-rent apartments.