To get a grasp on how renting in Atlanta has changed, we asked renters from across the city to chime in last week about their experiences in recent years. Emails streamed in from Roswell to Druid Hills to Old Fourth Ward, and together they paint a very human and illuminating portrait of the bind that rent increases are causing some Atlantans right now. (One recent study puts Atlanta's average yearly rent increases at triple the national average). Common are complaints about a lack of inventory, extreme competition, oddball lease lengths and rent hikes in the double-digits, percentage-wise. For the first of two "Perspectives on Renting" posts this week, we collected voices from across the metro and focused on issues beyond gripes with landlords and management companies — and pet problems. Some responses have been changed for clarity and length.
Rising Rent in Roswell:
I moved to Roswell in 2013 and just renewed my lease for a third year. I have definitely seen a hike in cost to rent. The cheapest unit in my complex now costs $975 for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, which is what I have. My rent in 2013 was $730 when I moved. The apartment is great, but new management is terrible — and I feel priced out of comparable apartments.
It baffles me that in 2015 they rely on sticking letters under your door for critical information as if they're morally opposed to emails, automated texts, etc. They repeatedly get billing wrong and online pay is iffy at best. I'd like to move closer to the Perimeter but everything is going up, by a lot! Seems counterintuitive that the apparent apartment construction binge around the city is instead causing a surge in rent. Buying seems to be the only sound option.
— A. L.
Gentrification vs. Georgia State University Hub:
Sampson Street Lofts are an island of GSU students and/or artists/creative types. We are increasingly surrounded by gentrification (Beltline, Krog Street Market, etc.) but still have affordable rent.
I don't think our charmingly gritty oasis will last much longer... Ladybird, for example, has already moved in. Our rent prices are slowly climbing up.
Soon us students and artists won't be able to afford living close to GSU, MARTA, streetcar, Beltline and the plethora of cultural resources and job opportunities (and without having to own a car!)
The Buckhead Renter Blues:
1. Absurd increases in rent: I've lived in my apartment in Buckhead for five years and my rent has increased over 30 percent in that time. No upgrades have been made to my unit.
2. Inconsistent lease lengths. During my renewal last summer I was not offered a 12-month lease, only shorter or 14/15 months. This is problematic as I close on a house next week and am being assessed a full-month's rent breakage fee on top of the 60+ day notice I gave them. Had I been offered a normal 12-month lease as I was every year before that, I would have been under a two-week-long, month-to-month lease and not have had to pay an egregious fee. Have also confirmed they re-let my unit and at a higher rate so a big time win-win-win for the complex.
Other than that, no real concerns. I think the pace at which rents have increased and what feels like a lose/lose situation for tenants is a little out of hand.
Peeved in Poncey-Highland:
In the months after I moved to the Telephone Factory Lofts two years ago I watched truck after truck load up and depart, full of the possessions of residents who had lived in these walls for many years. I witnessed neighbors saying goodbye, scattering across town. I realized they'd had something special here, and understood why this building had maintained a waiting list for years.
I quickly learned that the rent-control program had expired, and rents were skyrocketing. Naively, I did not expect that same fate to catch up to me so quickly. Yet when I received my renewal notice a few days ago, it was a 15 percent increase — for a cumulative 28 percent rent increase in two years.
A new sense of community has emerged here, one of despondency and helplessness as a once-beloved artist community empties out, leaving behind residents full of anger and resentment.
— Lynn Hylden
Rental rates provided by Hylden for context:
Initial lease for 2013 — 2014: $1,475
Lease for 2014 — 2015: $1,650
Renewal letter for 2015 — 2016: $1,900
(Editor's note: More than one tenant voiced concerns about rent hikes at this building).