DENVER- Joyce Thorn bought her Capitol Hill home in the 70's, long before any kind of rental market boom.
"The natives of this area like our diversity," Thorn said. "We like our crazies. Not the really crazy, but the medium crazies are fun!"
The chatty, quirky, quick witted 70-something owns several Denver apartment rental properties that could bring her some big bucks. The average one bedroom for the area runs about $1,300 a month. Thorn has only raised the rents at her complex a few times over 20 years. Tenants now pay $675.
"Money isn't everything. It doesn't solve all our problems. Working together helps solve problems. And group thinking is marvelous. The more different points of view you can do the better decisions you can make," she said.
It's community not money that Thorn is after. Her tenants help keep up the property. There's a garden, chicken coop and playground. About once a month the tenants and Thorn get together for a potluck and discuss how they can improve their community.
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"Everybody here has everybody's back. You're not going to find that at a typical apartment environment," said tenant Gary Campbell.
Campbell could not be more grateful for Thorn's tactics. When he got cancer and couldn't work, money became scarce. Rent couldn't be paid. Thorn didn't care. She worked out a deal, allowing Campbell to stay.
"She's a landlord with a heart. And I am very grateful for that."
Thorn won't raise rents so long as the buildings continue to pay for themselves. And she'll keep pushing togetherness. "I think we need it. People aren't meant to live alone." In her experience, thinking together creates happiness.
It's not about the money. It never will be. As long as she's in control, the goal will be "to have people feel free to live comfortably and not be stressed all the time."
(© 2015 KUSA)