Rent increases reduce affordable housing options

ROANOKE, Go. (WDBJ) – Increasing operating costs, expensive updated appliances, and the booming real estate market are what property managers are citing for increasing rent costs across the commonwealth.

Roanoke saw a 15% increase in rents year-over-year, outpacing the national rates and the rent growth in the rest of Virginia.

In the long term, tenants looking for affordable housing may be on the hunt for a while.

The Legal Aid Society of Roanoke Valley has received more than $ 1 million from the government’s rent relief program to help residents in danger of eviction. The money is estimated to run out this summer.

“There are over 100 evictions pending just in Roanoke City General District Court next week,” says general counsel David Beidler. “Through the last seven or eight months, our eviction numbers have increased 70 or 80 percent, so we see a lot of tenants.”

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60-year-old Natalie Jones contacted her local Legal Aid office after her calls and emails to the new management for her Lynchburg apartment complex went unanswered.

The market rate for her dwelling this past September was $ 550.

In December, Greenbrier Management took over the complex, says Eddie Duke, Vice President of Greenbrier Management. He says the company is not trying to make it difficult for current tenants to continue living there.

Last month, Ms. Jones was sent a notice of non-renewal for her current lease, telling her she’d need to sign a new one or vacate within 60 days.

The new market rate for a two-bedroom apartment? $ 950. A $ 400 increase.

We called and emailed the company, and got a response from Duke, who tells us Jones’s rent for her current unit will go up about $ 50 dollars in September.

“We don’t want to make it difficult for someone to continue living there, especially if it’s a resident who’s been there for a little while, that’s their home,” says Duke. “For new people coming in, so after somebody moves out, we’ll go in we’ll do the full renovation and those rents are going to be higher, and they should be, because those apartments on the interior will be essentially brand new . “

As they renovate, Jones feels she’s gradually being priced out of the place she calls home.

class="text | article-text">“They get to that apartment and they gut it, and you have to get out of there, when they get that apartment like they want it, that rent is going to go up,” says Jones. “What that letter says is exactly what they intend to do and that is to force all of us out.”

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