Exorbitant Rent Increases Cause Homelessness in Burien

exorbitant rent increasesExorbitant Rent Increases Cause Homelessness in Burien
One of the ways to deal with the homeless issue in Burien is to do what we can to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless. Prevention in regards to the homeless situation is of course the best option. Sadly many times it cannot be prevented. But we should do all we can to prevent homelessness or entire families having to move into a shelter.

When there are exorbitant rent increases invariably there are individuals or families that find themselves in a situation where they cannot pay the rent. This is especially true when individuals have been living paycheck to paycheck in an apartment at reasonable prices. They are able to pay their rent but not able to save. Then suddenly their rent increases up to $450 a month. What are they to do. They cannot afford that gigantic increase in their cost of living. When they go to look for another place they do not have all the upfront money needed to move into another place. Plus, whenever they look for another place, the rent most likely is $200-$300 higher than what they have been paying. Also they may have to move out of the area and have their children go to another school district right when school is starting up. They are in a catch 22 situation.

Pay $450 a Month or Move-Right Here in Burien
Right here in Burien there is an affordable apartment complex that has been purchased by new owners. The new owners are increasing the rent from $875 (was $775 last year including water,sewer, garbage) to $1250 with an additional $75 water, sewer garbage fee. If the residents don’t sign a 6-month lease they will be paying $1,425 a month. That is for a tw0-bedroom apartment in Burien. That is an increase of $450-$550 a month. (Originally they were also going to charge an additional $10 per person over 10 years old.) Along with having to payer rent, each renter must make the decision to be stuck in a 6-month lease. (Residents are paying different prices, this is just one example.)

How much notice have the residents received  in regards to the rent increase? Around 50 days. 50 Days to come up with an extra $450-$550 a month in rent, or to find a more affordable apartment. They actually have less than 50 days to find a place. Because they have to give 20 days notice if they are going to move. That means finding a place within a month. (Who knows what openings will be available in other apartment complexes.) They have to do this while some are working over 40 hours a week.

In order to improve their lives some residents are working part-time and going to college. For some they will have to work full-time or possibly quit going to college. Needless to say most of the individuals living in this apartment complex are not highly skilled, high wage workers. Thus some will not be able to work overtime. They will have to get an additional job. Needless to say they will have even less time with their children. So what do they do? They obviously cannot afford a day care. Some will have a hard time paying for a babysitter or finding a reliable babysitter.

Many of us would say this is unjust. Yes and no. A new owner certainly in this market has paid a high price to purchase the property. The new owner is certainly going to do improvements to the property to make it more valuable. A new owner certainly has a right to purchase the property and at some point turn it into condos if they desire. (My understanding that is not their goal.) The new owner certainly has a right to charge the prevailing rental rates. There is nothing illegal that the new owner is doing. It should also be acknowledged that in today’s rental market $875 for a two bedroom is low.

Saying all of the above, I think most would say there is something wrong with such a giant increase in rent with such short notice. That it truly is unfair to the residents living in the complex. Most are not individuals that can just pack up and move. Most individuals do not have excess income. It needs to be acknowledged that there will always be some people that need to have lower affordable housing.

What is Fair?
Is it not reasonable and fair for the new owners to get some kind of increase in rent? Yes, that is normal in the rental industry. But is it not reasonable and fair that the renters have more time to deal with the rent increase? Is it not more fair that the rent increase not be so extreme so quickly? Is it not fair to put individuals in an extreme crisis mode where there is the potential they make some unwise and poor decisions.

What Can Be Done?
I would assume that most reading this post would say something must be done. Most would say there is something unjust or unfair about what is happening. Most would say there must absolutely be something done!!!!! So what can be done?

Doing nothing certainly is not the answer. Just complaining certainly is not the answer. Hating the new owners will not solving anything. Residents refusing to pay the increase and forcing the new owners to evict them is not the answer.

The truth is not much can be done, especially if the new owners are not doing anything illegal. But I have some ideas of what can be done. Some could easily be implemented. Some are harder ti implement. Some may be impossible to implement. In my next post I will share them. Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section. LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!


4 Responses to “Exorbitant Rent Increases Cause Homelessness in Burien

  • Tony C.
    5 years ago

    If the new owners of an apartment building are not doing anything illegal by increasing the price of rent that the renter struggles to make the payment then the owner is being immoral. What’s immoral is not all the time illegal. Each and every one of us is responsible for developing, nurturing, and sustaining this unprincipled, and contemptible capitalist system that can be impersonal, immoral, and cold blooded. Profit and greed are the cherished norms of those wanting more money than they will ever need. What is fair and equitable is not of value to those stepping on the backs of people struggling to make ends meet. In my opinion what would be fair and equitable in the housing market are for landlords to be restricted from asking an unreasonable amount of money for a dwelling – rent control. Of course, there will be those who will scream and jump up and down in opposition to rent control only because they are unreasonable with the fixation of profit and greed. The greedy are more concerned with their own acquirement of wealth than the person struggling to pay rent. The greedy have a totally different perspective of the human condition than those who are not greedy. I feel a city ordinance to enforce rent control would be my endorsement to help those struggling to make ends meet.

  • If you would like to help prevent Burien residents from becoming homeless, you can make a donation that can help stop homelessness. Go to: http://www.homelessthinktank.org/make-difference/stop-homelessness-burien/

Trackbacks & Pings

  • Exorbitant Rent Increase-Solutions :

    […] Rent Increase-Solutions In our previous post we shared that there is a specific apartment complex in Burien that is increasing rents by […]

    5 years ago
  • Citizens Helping Prevent Homelessness in Burien :

    […] regards to an apartment complex that had a new owner that was increasing the rents from 40%-60%. (www.homelessthinktank.org/2017/08/12/higher-rent, […]

    4 years ago

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