Soaring home prices may get all the attention right now, but for thousands of people in Central Pennsylvania who are not homeowners, rent is rising to stunning levels, too, this year.
Nurse’s Aide, Diamond Trimble just received a letter from her landlord informing her that her rent is about to go up from $650 to $1,025, a 30% jump next month. “I got the letter on Feb. 23, so 30 days,” Trimble said.
But she says her apartment is in terrible condition, with broken window treatments, a moldy bathroom ceiling, and an oven that hasn’t worked in months. The landlord is promising some renovations, but Trimble says she wants to see him first. “I can’t afford a thousand dollars. If I could, I wouldn’t stay here,” Trimble said.
This is happening across the country, as landlords who haven’t raised rent for two years during the pandemic now try to recoup their losses, and that can mean rent hikes of 10, 20, or even 40% as leases expire.
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“When that lease is over, or if the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, then the landlord only has to give 30 days’ notice before increasing the rent,” Attorney Nick Dinardo of Legal Aid said. He says while some cities have rent control which prohibits rent hikes of over five to 10 percent, most communities do not.
“All they can really do at that point is negotiate, they have no legal remedy,” Dinardo said. Legal Aid suggests that you explain why you can’t afford the rent hike, and offer to do some work around the complex to keep your rent down. Finally, ask for a few extra months to find a new place.
Trimble says she’s going to have to move.
“There’s nothing I can do or say, basically either pay or leave,” Trimble said.
We called Trimble’s landlord who told us while she sympathizes, she says the rent hike is perfectly legal. As always, don’t waste your money.