HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Renters across Hampton Roads are feeling the squeeze when it comes to their housing rates.
Local resident Sean O’Brien was one of those renters who took to his Facebook page to vent about what he called “out of control” rent prices in Virginia Beach.
His post quickly went viral as others commented that they’d experienced similar price hikes.
In Virginia, there is no limit on rent increases a landlord can impose, but they must give a 30-day written notice.
“We’re seeing applicants who are living in hotels right now because the landlord either sold their home or rent was raised so much the current tenants couldn’t afford it,” said Phil Kazmierczak, vice chair of Hampton Roads Realtors Association’s Property Management and Leasing Council.
He says prices are high, but so is the demand.
“I can put a rental property on the market right now and I can have eight to 10 applications by the time I go home at the end of the day,” said Kazmierczak.
He says rent increases are based on several factors dating back to the recession in 2012, inflation, and of course most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a lot of investors, a lot of people who are trying to recoup what was lost. There’s a lot of people who didn’t qualify for the rent relief or didn’t apply and those investors took that as a loss,” said Kazmierczak.
For example, the Breeden Company owns many apartment complexes across the area and state.
10 On Your Side spoke to the Vice President of Breeden Property Management Barry Tomlin.
Tomlin says they kept rent the same during the pandemic, but it’s different now that things are moving again.
“We started seeing at the beginning of the year rental rates at about 5% increases, and the most recent I’ve seen is anywhere from 8-10%. We are about 8%, [that] is what we’re seeing here in our company,” said Tomlin.
Tomlin says they also had to offset some increased costs on their end.
“A lot of that is why we’ve had to push rent as much as we are, just because of expenses of services like housekeepers and painters and carpet cleaners,” Tomlin added.
He says they work with renters on budgeting and cheaper options if they need help.
“We ask any of our residents, if you need assistance, we’ll sit down with you, go through and give you the options. We want people to stay with us, and if the current unit doesn’t work, we’ll find on that does,” Tomlin said.
It’s not clear how long these rates will last or if they’ll go up any further, but Kazmierczak says it’ll likely stabilize through the holidays.