I got home a bit early today, and was able to talk to an actual manager-type person at the my apartment's office.
I got *three* repeats of "we're trying to raise the rent of current residents to the market rate that we charge new tenants". That's their justification for raising the rent 11%.
When I pointed out that when I had received a renewal letter in error in December, and *that* had only stated my rent would go up $20, she said "well, rates fluctuate all the time -- we're raising our rate to reflect the current market price" and "we're legally allowed to raise rents 30%".
Uhm, if the current market price of this place is $1,300 a month, then a lot of people should be investing in townhomes and condos, because the local ones go for about $1,400/month. And you'd have a lot more control over the place.
So I'm definitely moving. I've got find a place -- looking near Takoma, Silver Spring, and Forest Glen Metro stations, though other suggested areas in MD near public tranportation would be helpful -- and a mover, since I'm not asking my friends to help me move again. It was awful in July last time, it will be awful again. I can pay some strapping young men to haul boxes; I'll just ask my friends to help me weed out the extraneous stuff that I should get rid of -- clothes I don't wear, books that I don't read, things like that.