CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gas, groceries -- it seems like the cost of everything continues to rise. Rent is no exception.
According to real estate information website Redfin, average rents in the U.S. rose 14.1% in 2021 based on year-over-year comparisons from December 2020 to December 2021.
Many people in Charlotte are also feeling the sting of rent increases. Several people have reached out to WCNC Charlotte asking if it's legal for rental properties to increase the rent by large margins.
It started with an email from viewer Alonzo Roberts. He told us his rent is increasing, and he's wondering if the apartment complex can legally raise his rent by 30%.
"I have been in this property now as of four years, five years and we were bought out once and now three times," Roberts said.
Roberts said his apartment complex is now under new management.
"I pay my rent on time, I have never been late, and I was actually one of the first people to move, and I really disagree with going up 30%," Roberts said.
When your lease is up, can the landlord raise the rent as much as they want in North Carolina?
Yes, when your lease is up, landlords can raise the rent as high as they want because North Carolina is not a rent-controlled state.
WHAT WE FOUND:
According to the latest data from Mecklenburg County, the average monthly rent in Charlotte is $1,501. Kim Graham, who works with apartment complexes in Charlotte, said many places are raising prices.
"Real page is reporting that the increase in rent is around 9.5%, that's for the last six months so if you double that, that's about 18.5-19 percent that we are seeing," Graham said.
However, are landlords allowed to raise prices that much?
"They own it; there are no laws; there are no statutory laws here; there are only a few states in the U.S. that have rent control," Graham said.
North Carolina is not a rent-controlled state.
WCNC Charlotte went through the six pages of North Carolina's Landlord-Tenant laws, and there are no restrictions on rent increases.
"It's typical for year over year rent increases to happen," Graham said.
Graham told WCNC Charlotte increases of this magnitude are unusual. She said it's a perfect storm because of inflation, the pandemic, and landlords trying to play catch up from the eviction moratorium, which allowed renters who were struggling to pause their rent payments.
"Apartment owners experience a $26.6 billion loss and if you divide that by 50 states, North Carolina is $500 million," Graham said.
She went on to say Mecklenburg County would probably represent a third of that.
Of course, if they raise it too high, they won't have any tenants left. So will we continue to see these large increases? Graham said things should even out within the next few years. If you are struggling to pay your rent, you can find resources here.
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