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Salt Lake City mother struggling with unexpected rent hike

Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 19:59:42-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Finding a place to live in Salt Lake City is tough enough whether residents are buying or renting. But one woman is speaking out after learning her rent will go up some $500 dollars next month.

There's currently a 2% vacancy rate in the city, but in a healthy market that number should be closer to 5%.

“I don’t know how anyone can afford it. And then to have to try to move, to find something different, where else am I gonna go,” said the single mom who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation

The woman who lives on the west side of the city said she’s lived in her apartment for the past two years and was prepared for a rental increase, but was shocked at just how much it went up.

“That’s way more than 12 percent, which is kind of normal, but that’s way closer to 50 percent,” said the woman.

Before the increase, she said she was paying about $959 each month, but will now pay over $1400.

“I’ll try to work 60 hours a week. The girls there, they felt bad, they felt bad… they said there’s nothing we can do, everyone’s feeling it, I just didn’t expect to feel it this bad,” she said.

A notice from the apartment complex claims prices are increasing daily.

“It’s cheaper for me, it says on here, to be here for six months, they want me out because they want to renovate it so they can charge more,” the woman added.

And with hardly any vacancies, someone would fill her slot at the complex almost immediately.

“Probably 5-10 people in their office lined up wanting a space, so they feel that outward pressure of people wanting those units and so to move things along, they pass on the cost,” said Dejan Eskic..

Eskic, who specializes in housing and real estate research, said that while housing prices took off at the beginning of the pandemic, rents stayed pretty flat. But in 2021, rents started to catch up.

“It is uncharted territory in terms of rent growth, but at the same time, when we look at the demographics, and demand, and lack of supply, it makes sense,” said Eskic.

Lack of labor, lack of lumber, lack of inventory are all contributing factors and certainly won’t have an overnight fix.

Eskic said if you can, become an advocate for more housing in your community.

“Another thing holding us back is us, when we see more housing being proposed, we tend to push back against it," Eskic said. "Some of our stereotypes and misconceptions about density just aren’t true, they’re leftover from the bad government projects of the 70s and 80s, and it’s really changed in the last 10-15 years.”

FOX 13 News reached out to the apartment complex where the rental increases are planned. Employees did not want to comment on camera, but said what they’re doing is completely legal and they are just responding to the current market conditions.

Eskic said nationally, about 16% of renters are behind on rent, but in Utah that number is closer to only 6 percent.