Tenants are being scammed by massive rent increases and evictions – and it’s only getting worse

Gerardo Vidal, who has lived in the same apartment in Queens, New York with his family for 9 years, recently got a rent increase of $900 a month this year.

“This means having to uproot my entire family, given the fact that we are still having a hard time earning money because of the pandemic and job losses,” Vidal said. “It’s just so unfair that we are essentially being forced out of the places we’ve lived in for nine years and that landlords can get away with this.”

Vidal is one of thousands of renters in New York and countless others across the United States who are currently experiencing massive rent increases – a trend that has been in the making for decades, but combined with inflation pressure and a systematic shortage of affordable housing, It causes chaos for the tenants. These rent increases effectively act as evictions by landlords who know full well that tenants will have to move as a result, enabling landlords to rent units to new tenants at higher rates.

This displacement crisis led to the push for good cause eviction legislation in New York, which would have limited annual rent increases to 3 percent, or 1.5 percent of the annual percent change in CPI. The legislation will also protect tenants from landlords who refuse to renew leases, except in cases of lease violations. The bill would have affected an estimated 1.6 million families in New York and had overwhelming support from the public, according to polls conducted on the bill. Protesters were arrested in late May at the New York State Capitol during a demonstration to lobby for lawmakers to support and pass the legislation.

“It’s just so unfair that we are essentially being forced out of the places we’ve lived in for nine years and that landlords can get away with this.”

Gerardo Vidal, of Queens, New York, a tenant who and his family were forced to move out of the apartment they had lived in for nine years after recent rent hikes

Despite widespread popular support and the measurable benefit it could bring to tenants, the bill died in the Albany legislature in early June. “Instead of voting on the Good Reason Scale,” Gwen Hogan wrote on the website. Gothamist“The state Senate has passed a bill that would create a commission to study affordable housing.”

Eviction rates have dropped dramatically during the pandemic, thanks in large part to the fact that the Centers for Disease Control issued a moratorium on evictions, which expired in August 2021. Even with the moratorium in effect, many evictions continued, and landlords often found ways to other to pay. from the tenants.

Laura Thayer, 52, of Springfield, Missouri, lost her job on December 30, 2019. The termination of her job was reportedly due to repeated delays resulting from dependence on her partner, who had an illness just prior to the pandemic, due to transportation. Thayer’s manager was reporting to upper management about his late arrival as ‘no call, no turn up’. Her partner had a mental breakdown just before Christmas and left her apartment to live with his parents.

While waiting for unemployment benefits, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in March 2020, delaying Thayer’s intended return to work.

Thayer was evicted from her apartment in June 2020 when the homeowner refused to renew her lease, despite the fact that she was aware of the rent payments. “If the sheriff comes to physically lock you up, it is humiliating—you are treated like a criminal and your property is not treated with respect. In my case, though I received full pay, even overpaid, the belongings I had not yet packed,” Thayer said. They were dumped in broken trash bags and taken out in the trash can.”

Speaking to TRNN, Thayer stressed the need for renters facing eviction to have free legal representation as such representation is an unacceptable necessity for many who lack the resources to secure representation themselves when in the midst of losing their home; Moreover, the negative effects that an eviction can have on an individual’s credit and ability to secure housing in the future mean that the risks of a bold, unrepresented eviction are incredibly high.

“If the sheriff comes to physically lock you up, it is humiliating – you are treated like a criminal and your belongings are not treated with respect. In my case, although I was paid full, even overpaid, the baggage I had not yet packed was thrown into garbage bags. broken and taken out of the trash.”

Laura Thayer, a tenant in Springfield, Missouri, lost her job in December 2019 and was fired from her apartment in June 2020.

“If you have a parcel, even if [your rent is] If you pay in full, you will most likely be penalized as a tenant in the next place you rent. This is done in the form of additional deposits, additional amounts are added monthly, but in most cases, many rental companies and landlords will not even accept you as a tenant. and people who deceive you.”

Thayer has lived out of her car for the past two years, trying to recover financially and emotionally and find affordable housing, all while struggling with serious health issues with cataracts and anemia.

“It affected every aspect of my life,” she said. “The eviction has me terrified of entering into another housing situation with a fixed lease where I do everything in my power to do what I am supposed to do as far as the rent is paid, take care of the judgment, then they change the rules and decide not to renew the lease.”

The CDC’s nationwide moratorium on evacuation expired in August 2021 and expired in other regions of the United States by October 2021. By 2022, federal relief assistance programs in many states had expired or had run out of money. Since the eviction moratorium expired, eviction filings have begun to return to pre-pandemic levels in many areas of the United States, an issue of greater concern given the rise in rental prices in recent months.

52-year-old Judy Frances of Rochester, New York, and a member of the Rochester Tenants’ Association has experienced two causeless evictions in recent years, one by a developer who purchases his apartment building and gives all tenants 30 days’ notice to vacate, and another from a landlord who did not accept Rent payments because Francis refused to join his church.

Rochester has among the highest poverty rates of cities of a similar size in the United States. Francis noted that gentrification and a shortage of affordable housing had consistently put low-income and vulnerable residents of the city at risk of eviction, and rising rental costs had only exacerbated the situation.

Housing advocates and tenants gather to protest the eviction of tenants from the 50-unit Tokio Hotel Apartments located at 1013½ S Central Ave in downtown Los Angeles, California, on October 4, 2021. Monday morning. Photo by Al-Seeb/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

“All these politicians and leaders are always talking about violence and education, but how are you going to confront these if people don’t have a place to live?” Francis said. “How can you think of things like that when we have this acute tenant problem to begin with, [when] People are being pushed out left and right? ”

Tammy Davis of Brooklyn, New York, a Section 8 coupon holder and part-timer, had trouble finding affordable housing or landlords who would accept her Section 8 coupon.

She lived in the same apartment for 13 years and her owner tried to evict her just before the pandemic because they wanted the property back. This eviction was halted, but recently began to proceed in court again, forcing Davis to try to find another place to live, which she said was impossible.

It is illegal to discriminate against tenants of Section 8 vouchers; That is, landlords are not legally allowed to treat coupon recipients differently when they apply to become a tenant. But that’s not how it works in practice. Davis had paid multiple application fees, submitted papers and personal information on several properties, and often did not receive a response.

“It’s a waste of time,” Davis said. “They discriminate because they think everyone has a coupon – that you’re not good, that they are not good renters.”

One 2022 report from Realtor.com found that rent in the 50 largest metro areas in the US jumped 16.7 percent from the previous year, so much so that the average rental price in May 2022 was $2,002 per month, a figure Standard High. The increases are putting pressure on Americans who were already bearing the brunt of inflation and rising consumer prices, including skyrocketing prices for gas, food and other raw materials — costs that have been paid to consumers while some of the world’s largest companies experience record profits.

Tara Sickinger Curl of Boise, Idaho, has seen a $240 a month increase in her rent this year, from $1,710 to $1,950 a month, after she initially rented her apartment for $1,510 in 2019.

“This is a huge extension considering I work three jobs and donate plasma to make ends meet,” said Sickinger Curl, who is looking after two teenage daughters and unable to downsize to a smaller apartment. One bedroom costs about $1,700 per month. “Is it wrong that I want the same quality of life that my children have always enjoyed?”

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