Nashville renters continue to feel the burn of increased rent prices

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - As rent prices rise across Nashville, more people are being priced out of the Music City. This includes low-income families who qualify for affordable housing.

“I don’t want to be homeless. I get up. I go to work every day,” Shevon Kelley said. Even with subsidized housing assistance, she fears the worst.

That fear Kelley is feeling keeps growing. The single mom of two says her rent at hermitage flats went up not once but twice in the last six months.

“It’s supposed to be affordable housing,” Kelley said. “What’s affordable? Affordable for who?”

The most recent rent increase at Hermitage Flats, and other affordable housing complexes in the area, is caused by the area median income (AMI) going up. This can happen every year once HUD releases those numbers.

“This year, the AMI rate increased pretty significantly by 11.8%, and that’s why renters are seeing such a significant increase in their rent,” said Metro Councilwoman Kyonzte Toombs.

Toombs says Tennessee state law does not allow rent control, but the city is trying to bring in more affordable units by incentivizing developers to make it cheaper to build low-income housing.

“We are looking at how we can use metro-owned property to do more affordable housing so that’s a way you can cut down the cost, then that prevents someone from needing to raise rent or needing to raise it as much,” Toombs said she’s also requested that Elmington, the company who owns of Hermitage Flats and other affordable housing complexes, do more to prevent renters from being caught off guard by these types of rent hicks.

“I’ve asked the property owner to do a one pager that will be separate from the lease, it’ll have to be signed by the renter that explains how they do rent increases,” Toombs explained.

Meanwhile, some renters wonder, ‘Will these rent prices ever cool off?’

“I understand economies are going up, but they have to understand as full-time workers, that doesn’t mean our pay is going up,” Kelley said.

A hermitage flats spokesperson says when these based rent increases happen, they work with their residents to find a solution that keeps residents in their unit.

Anyone who may need rental assistance can contact the Metro Action Commission.

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