RENTERS’ RIGHTS: Finding an affordable rental
(WFSB) - When Joel Lynch received a $500 dollar rent increase, his first thought was, “we’re going to have to move, omg. We’re going to have to leave.”
It’s the same thought his neighbor Melva Plummer had when she was told she’d have to pay more than $700 more a month.
”I cannot afford it right now, to just pick myself up and move like that,” says Plummer.
But after asking themselves if they could even afford to move in the first place, the next question was, where would they go?
”I don’t even know to be honest with you. You have to have money to move, to pay someplace they want one month, two month security, whatever,” says Plummer.
COST OF LIVING:
According to rentdata.org, a website that uses fair market prices set by the federal government, the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Connecticut is $1,249.
Two bedrooms are $1,559.
Three bedrooms are $1,944.
Of course, that depends on where you live.
“For this particular house it’s going for $2350 in Wethersfield. A year ago it would probably be $1800,” says John Zubretsky, a realtor in the Greater Hartford area for more than three decades.
He says rents have gone up about 10-20% each year, over the last couple years, and he expects them to continue to rise slightly in 2023.
”Tight market and competitive nature. There’s more than one person looking for every rental,” says Zubrestky. “It’s not only the landlords. The agents that represent them say hey, it appears to be worth $2000 but you should probably ask $2400 and you’ll probably get it. And that’s pretty much true in all of Greater Hartford.”
FINDING WHAT YOU NEED:
So how do you find what you need, at an affordable price?
”Number one: act quickly. When something comes on the market, try to be one of the first few to get in there,” says Zubretsky.
Zubretsky says one of the best ways to do that is to work with a real estate agent.
Many landlords in Connecticut pay for the realtors themselves, so you don’t have to worry about an extra cost, and they know what’s out there before anyone else.
”Any real estate agent can set you up on an automatic notifier, so as soon as something comes on the market, you get that information in real time, along with your agent,” says Zubretsky.
If you want to try to search yourself, there are websites that can help.
”I know Zillow does a lot of rental work. Realtor.com, Zillow, whatever you have out there - subscribe,” says Zubretsky.
“It sounds crazy but like Facebook Marketplace is one of the ways to do it, Craigslist used to be another way to do it,” says Kara Capone, CEO of Community Housing Advocates.
Her organization can not only help point renters toward affordable housing, and toward programs that can help with added costs.
FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR RENTERS:
“We have security deposit programs for folks because a lot of the time, the security deposit is usually a huge barrier trying to get a new apartment,” says Capone. You can find that information here: https://ctcha.org/
Capone says if they can’t help, CT’S 2-1-1 website is the place to go.
There you’ll find information on affordable housing programs, rental assistance funds specific to your city or town, as well as housing related events. Those resources are listed here: https://www.211ct.org/topic_pages/housing
One thing everyone could agree on?
“It’s going to be exhausting. It’s going to be frustrating,” says Zubretsky.
But worth it, to find the right and affordable place.
”Because everyone wants a home. It’s one of the basic needs. You want a roof over your head,” says Lynch.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING RESOURCES:
Housing Development Programs
Housing Affordability Initiatives
Community Development Programs
Individual & Family Support
RENTERS RIGHTS’ SERIES:
On Monday, the I-Team highlighted Fair Rent Commissions and how they work. To see if your city/town has one, click here:
On Tuesday, the I-Team talked about what you can do if you’re facing an eviction. Legal resources can be found here.
On Wednesday, the I-Team looked at whether a cap on annual rent increases has worked in other cities and states.
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