'Outrageous:' Rent hikes continue to climb in Nashville in time for Christmas

Federal rent relief deadline approaches in Tennessee
housing nashville
Posted at 5:00 PM, Dec 08, 2022

UPDATE: After the story aired, the landlord decided to not hike Matt's rent an extra $350 per month.

Nashville rent is showing no signs of coming down, and now the federal rent relief money is about to dry up too.

For some — lease renewals are coming up at the end of the year.

"Housing keeps increasing. It’s pushing a lot of people out," Matt said.

Matt asked to be identified by his first name because he's still negotiating with his landlord through a property management company. His rent will go up $350 more a month if he signs a new lease in 2023.

"It’s extremely stressful. I’m a single father. I have shared 50/50 custody of my son, and already things are tight between daycare, groceries, inflation, things like that. My cost of living has gone up dramatically in the past couple of years outside of this change," Matt said.

The increase would bring his rent to cost nearly $2,000 a month for his house near the Nashville Zoo. He believes state law needs to change to help renters.

"Some sort of regulation in place, some sort of cap, I don’t know, but it’s becoming outrageous," Matt said.

To help, the Metro Council has allocated more than $2.5 million to the Legal Aid Society, and another nonprofit, to help low-income renters facing evictions.

Through the funding, the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands was able to hire additional attorneys like Elizabeth Leiserson.

"With that enormous increase in 2021, and wages not going up at the same rate, folks are just struggling to make ends meet," Leiserson said.

Tenants have until Jan. 6 to apply for federal rent relief money, where you can apply here.

"It’s tricky for us because there’s not a lot of options under the law for people who are behind on rent," Leiserson said.

As for Matt, with a short notice, he's not sure what he'll do next.

"Incredibly stressful," Matt said.

Some landlords are citing higher property taxes and insurance costs as reasons to increase rent.

“And whenever I asked if there was any reason for this reason they just told me the landlord believes that’s what the property is worth," Matt said.

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