‘Frustrating, scary, mind-boggling’: Rental costs rising across SELA

Rental Prices Rising
Rental Prices Rising(wvue)
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “Frustrating scary, all of it coming out of nowhere,” said one tenant.

Opening an email from the Saulet Apartment management group, one tenant who didn’t want to be identified out of fear of retaliation had a bit of sticker shock.

“I was like is there anything I can do because I can’t afford this,” she said. She rents an apartment for $1,590. This email shows the rent increase to $2,247-- a more than 41 percent increase for her apartment on Annunciation street.

“It’s mind-boggling that they want to increase this or even with the thought of him wanting to increase it that much initially… they want to increase the price that much knowing that we don’t even have what we need in our apartment,” she said.

She says she’s had multiple conversations to try and whittle down the price, all while she says there are ongoing Ida reconstruction projects.

Rental costs across Southeast Louisiana are rising according to the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans. They point to Ida construction projects, insurance premiums, combined with rising flood and homeowners’ insurance.

“I mean, we dealt with this after Hurricane Katrina, and now we’re dealing with it after hurricane Ida. And then, again, on top of that, all the massive rent loss property owners experienced because of COVID. So and that’s money, they’re never going to recoup… we’re talking 1000′s or millions of dollars of increases, depending on how large the company is they may have to deal with and it’s unfortunate that we have to offset those costs some kind of way and it’s passed on the consumer,” said Tammy Esponge.

Unfortunately for tenants, legal experts say there’s not much legal recourse renters can take.

“The problem is so many tenants in Louisiana are in month to month leases and under the law, a landlord can give as little as 10 days notice before the end of the month to terminate that lease, change its terms or raise the rent and there’s no rent control rent limits, nothing to prevent them from raising their rent as much as they want if the market supports it, so there’s very little protection for tenants who are not in a term lease,” said Hannah Adams with the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.

Besides waiting and appealing to law and policy-makers, advocates say the best option is to have a conversation with the landlord.

“This is certainly not a new problem but we’ve heard more of this after Ida as landlords are making substantial renovations to the property,” said Adams.

“It’s unfortunate they’re leaving us no other option and is on such short notice,” said the tenant. We reached out to the Saulet apartments for comment. But have not heard back.

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