MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Rent is on the rise across our region, and some have been stunned by their renewal notices.
Montgomery County’s .4% cap on annual rent increases expired in May, and Matt Losak, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, said he continues to hear from people scared about losing their housing.
"We’re seeing rent increases between 5 and 53 percent," Losak said. "Landlords are going hog wild thinking it’s a free-for-all to raise rents any amount that they want, and irresponsible landlords are taking advantage of that."
He said what’s happening now could be the tip of the iceberg.
Montgomery County Council is considering a proposal to limit yearly rent increase to 4.4%, but it’s unclear if there will be enough support to pass it.
Losak believes that percentage is still too high.
"But we understand the balance," Losak said. "We don’t like it, but we’ll take it if it keeps people from gouging people out of their houses."
A woman in Wheaton said her month-to-month rent is going up over 50% to nearly $2,000 a month for a studio apartment. FOX 5 reviewed her renewal information.
"I was completely shocked," she said. "My options are very limited here, and I feel very forced to pay that unreasonably high amount of rent."
She said she may have to leave the county. The Renters Alliance is now working with her landlord and asked we not name the building as that process is underway.
A father of two who lives at Assembly Watkins Mill in Gaithersburg, owned by Greystar, shared his renewal notice with a 24% hike in rent. The price jumped from $1,380 to $1,711."We would be struggling to afford that," he said.
He says he’s not finding other affordable options and is also thinking about his two children in elementary school.
"They would have to change schools and make new friends and all that," he said.
In response, Assembly Watkins Mill provided a statement reading: "We understand and empathize with the challenges residents are facing with rising rents throughout our area and around the country. Our rental rates are comparable to other similar homes in the area, but to help our residents make the best decisions for their families, we have made renewal offers up to four months in advance rather than the standard 3-month notice so they can make adjustments if needed. These are unprecedented times and we are all faced with rising costs, inflation and changing market conditions; these also impact the costs with operating the property. We are committed to working with our residents to ease the impact of these increases and provide as much notice as possible."
Losak said if you’re struggling with a rent increase you believe is excessive in Montgomery County, contact the Renters Alliance as well as the county’s Office of Landlord and Tenant Affairs. You can reach the office by dialing 311.