Bill Nischan, who had to leave his home in a Montgomery County park after the rent surged because of renovations he made, has moved to a new home in another county park.
The Montgomery County park commission in June raised the rent on Nischan's house in Seneca Community Park by 126 percent over the next two years after an appraisal found several houses on the parkland owned by the county were undervalued.
Nischan, whose story was reported in a June Maryland Weekly article, said that he worked hard improving the house and thought the large increase was unfair.
Soon after the story was published, park commission property manager Charles McGovern heard that another house owned by the park might become available.
"I wanted to help him out of the situation. He was upset about the increase, and this looked like a chance for him to relocate where the rent was more suitable," said McGovern.
The new house, on Darnestown Road in Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park, is about 12 miles from Nischan's other house. Nischan painted the house but said it needed only "interior cosmetics," not the extensive renovation his last house required.
"It's a lovely place," Nischan said. "I like the house a lot better."
Even so, he said his stay there probably will not last more than two years. "It's a place to go immediately, with the understanding that in a year or two they might demolish it," he said.
The house may need to be removed because of plans to expand Route 28. For now, he said, the $650 rent is much more affordable than the $1,200 they are asking for his former house.
Nischan said that when McGovern told him about the new house he was so upset about moving that at first he didn't really consider the idea. "This hopscotch stuff is for the birds. It's very difficult for most renters to find people like me that they can rely on. I'm an ideal person to have, because I leave the place better than I found it."
Nonetheless, he made the move.
"I've always been able to adapt," said Nischan. "I learned in the service that you have to find the best there is out of the worst situation. Otherwise, you might as well just roll over."