Salt Lake City mother grapples with unexpected rent hike

SALT LAKE CITY – Finding housing in Salt Lake City is hard enough, whether residents are buying or renting. But a woman is speaking out after learning her rent will go up by around $500 next month.

There is 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 having to try to move, to find something different, where else am I going to go,” said the single mother, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

The woman who lives on the west side of town said she had lived in her apartment for two years and was ready for a rent increase, but was shocked at how much it had gone up.

“It’s way over 12%, which is pretty normal, but it’s way closer to 50%,” the woman said.

Before the increase, she said she was paying about $959 a month, but now she will pay more than $1,400.

“I will try to work 60 hours a week. The girls there, they felt bad, they felt bad…they said there was nothing we could do, everyone was feeling it, I didn’t expect to feel it so bad,” he said. she stated.

A notice from the apartment complex claims that the prices are increasing every day.

“It’s cheaper for me, it says 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 virtually no vacancies, someone would fill their position at the complex almost immediately.

“Probably 5-10 people in their office have lined up wanting a space, so they’re feeling this outside pressure from people who want these units and so to get things done, they’re passing on the cost,” Dejan Eskic said.

Eskic, who specializes in housing and real estate research, said while house prices took off at the start of the pandemic, rents have remained fairly stable. But in 2021, rents started to catch up.

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

Lack of manpower, lack of lumber, lack of inventory are all contributing factors and will certainly not have an overnight solution.

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

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

FOX 13 News has contacted the apartment complex where the rent increases are scheduled. The employees wouldn’t comment on camera, but said what they were doing was completely legal and was just in response to current market conditions.

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

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