Rapid increase in rent leaves some Arizona tenants feeling the pinch

Some renters in the Phoenix area are getting a not-so-welcome Christmas gift, in the form of big-time rent increases as they make the decision of whether or not to renew their leases.

According to survey data released from rental listing site Zumper, median rent prices nationally for a one bedroom place up almost 12%.

For a two bedroom, the increase is nearly 14%.

In the Phoenix area, Phoenix, as well as Mesa, Gilbert and Glendale, are all in a list of top 20 cities that saw the most rent growth in 2021.

"I think this is essentially payback," said Ken Volk. "Landlords were behind the eight-ball for the year and a half the moratorium was in effect."

Renter advocate getting a lot of calls from renter

Volk, the founder of Arizona Tenants Advocates, says he has been getting a lot of calls. He says he is hearing from renters getting priced out and evicted, with pandemic pricing becoming a thing of the past.

"Within Arizona, probably two-thirds of my calls are on this subject," said Volk. "It has put the tenants in a bind. What are their options? Sleep on someone’s couch? Become homeless?"

Landlord advocate speaks out

For some property owners, they went without payment for months during the pandemic because of tenant relief rules, but now, restrictions are gone, and demand remains high in the Phoenix area, which is one of the fastest growing spots in the country.

"In a lot of cases, there are wait lists in many of the apartment communities, even in the single family rentals," said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus with the Arizona Multihousing Association. "We have not seen occupancy like we have right now in over 50 years."

Advice for renters

In Arizona, there are no laws that cap how much rent can be hiked, and experts say renters should try to negotiate and communicate with their landlord.

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