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DWYM: Landlords explain why rent hikes are hard to avoid

DWYM: Why rent hikes are inevitable during pandemic
Posted at 9:51 AM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 10:53:22-04

In recent weeks, we have been reporting on soaring home prices and rising rents.

It’s hitting renters especially hard, because it hurts them immediately.

Consumer reporter John Matarese provides the other side of the story so you don't waste your money.

It's not just home prices soaring.

Rents are going up too this year.

But now we are hearing from a landlord as to some of the reasons why.

Amanda Barger was evicted earlier this year after she was unable to pay her rising rent at her mobile home.

"I know this is a business, but they could have a little kindness," Barger said.

Barbara Hill Kelley's rent was raised more than $100 a month.

"$117 to be exact," she said, "per month."

Stories like this can make landlords look like the boogeyman.

But several have contacted me to say it's been a difficult year with rising water bills and property taxes and tenants missing payments.

"We struggled along with everyone else in the pandemic," said Deborah Collins, who manages 25 apartments and rental houses.

She says many landlords lost income last year.

"We canceled all late fees for the year, we worked on payment plans for any residents that were behind," she said.

The eviction moratorium, she says, meant they had to allow tenants to go months without paying rent.

"A lot of housing providers are trying to recoup those losses, and are doing it with a rental price hike," she explained.

Collins says most landlords are just trying to make themselves whole again and are not price gouging.

Of course, that’s little consolation to people like Kelley, struggling to accept a rent hike that could force her to move.

Collins' advice to tenants: be kind and try to negotiate a rent hike.

She says most landlords would rather keep a good tenant, than find a new one.

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