BLACKLICK, Ohio (WCMH) — A non-profit is apologizing after a letter sent to residents in one of its housing complexes left tenants under the impression they were about to face steep rent hikes.

Walnut Grove in Blacklick is a 176-unit apartment complex owned by Preservation of Affordable Housing. Shirley Pestona has lived there for about 9.5 years.

“It’s a nice place to live, it’s pretty safe, got a great view out the back, I love watching the wildlife,” she said.

But the letter she received has her concerned.

Pestona pays $680 each month. According to the letter, the non-profit intends to raise her rent to $1,032 in May.

Other residents around the complex also received the notices this week, with some letters showing rent increases of more than $400.

“Mostly, I’d like a really amazing reason for why it’s going up over $300 for nothing that’s getting done,” said Pestona. “That’s a big jump, I can’t really afford that.”

Preservation of Affordable Housing’s primary mission, according to its website, is “to preserve, create and sustain affordable, healthy homes that support economic security, racial equity and access to opportunity for all.” The non-profit owns nearly 13,000 units across 11 states, including 20 properties in Ohio.

A spokesperson for the non-profit sent the following statement, which said the letters were inadvertently sent to residents.

The letter in question regarding Walnut Grove was sent in error to our resident(s). We apologize for any confusion.

The letter received was intended for the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. Through the Housing Authority’s project-based contract and portable voucher program, there is an option to request an increase in rent.  

Ultimately, the Housing Authority has sole discretion as to whether an increase will be approved, what amount of increase will be applied, as well as how much a tenant utilizing Housing Authority programs will have to pay. 

Unless the resident notifies the housing authority of a change of income, there will not be an increase to the resident’s portion of the rent.  

Prior to approval of increased rent, residents must be notified 60 days in advance of our intention to request the increase from Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. 

Our team utilizes funds generated from rent increases to reinvest into our properties in an ongoing effort to improve our residents’ quality of life. Once again, we apologize for the confusion.

J.P. Hervis, Preservation of Affordable Housing spokesperson

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority did not provide a comment by the time of publication.