Nashville lawyers teach class on renters' rights as prices skyrocket

North Nashville for rent sign
Posted at 9:17 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 23:13:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A lot of Middle Tennessee renters are taking another look at their leases. Staff with Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee said with rent prices skyrocketing many are wondering what they can do.

Staff said it's not only the questions about rent but maintenance repairs as well.

Metro Nashville Councilwoman Erin Evans and staff attorneys with Legal Aid Society held a question and answer meeting with tenants as they learn more about renters' rights.

Renters like Dave Fowler contacted NewsChannel 5 for assistance.

"This could have prevented me from calling you guys today. This could have been easily prevented," Fowler said.

Fowler feels like he is running out of options. His dream home is becoming a nightmare.

Fowler started renting his Gallatin home three years ago.

The single dad says it was perfect until it wasn't.

"I noticed the flooring in the living room and kitchen. It just wasn't done right to start with. And that was the beginning and then we have the refrigerator problems with the leak," said Fowler.

Fowler has a running list of much-needed repairs.

He has called the local office for the out-of-state managing company Main Street Renewal but says it takes months for anything to get fixed.

And when things are repaired, he said the work is sloppy.

"I want to be clear, you know? I'm not about bashing people, dragging them through the mud. I just, I want things to be fixed. And that's all I'm asking for."

Fowler isn't the only renter locked in a lease wondering what to do.

"We do have people who were calling in asking questions about either lease nonrenewals or rent increases that have been up to 10%, 20% and 30% of their annual rent, rent balance," said attorney Katie Ovalle with Legal Aid Society.

Ovalle wants to remind renters there are options.

These lawyers said the best thing to do is read your lease before signing anything, make all repair requests in writing and know you have rights.

And if you think you need legal help, don't hesitate to reach out.

Fowler is hoping his situation doesn't have to turn into that.

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee holds yearly clinics on renters' rights and has information on tips for tenants its website.

NewsChannel 5 and Dave Fowler both have reached out to the property management company for a response on his repairs and haven't received one so far.