'It's not sustainable': Renters face tough decisions as rent prices rise in Hampton Roads

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 19:33:23-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - If you're a renter, you probably know how hard it is to find an affordable place to live these days. Rent costs around Hampton Roads are going up, and there seems to be no end in sight.

We caught up with two Hampton Roads residents who said they were recently slapped with shocking lease renewals.

"I was paying about $1,550, and now a year later I'm paying $1,668, I believe, for the same apartment," Kwamane Woodhouse, a Virginia Beach resident, told us. "No new amenities, nothing extra you're getting for the space."

Woodhouse moved into his one-bedroom apartment in 2019. He said with rising rent prices, he considered moving elsewhere within the area for way less, but decided to stay put.

"You know once you pay the administrative fees, the application fees, your deposit and your first month's rent, that's about $3,000," he said. "I might as well save that and stay where I am."

Jazmyn Wimbush, a realtor and property manager in Hampton Roads, said rent increases are based on several factors.

"The demand is outpacing the supply and it's causing an increase," she said. "That along with increased costs for everything puts more money on the owners that are renting the properties. It's a perfect storm of all of the above."

Wimbush said rent has risen by 20% in Hampton Roads over the last five years. To give an example, she explained how the price of a condo in Chesapeake has changed.

"With this three-bedroom, it's currently running at $1,500, but in 2019 and before you could rent a three-bedroom for $1,250 to $1,300," Wimbush said.

Renters on the Peninsula like Brion Humphrey say when you don't have an increase in salary and have these price hikes, it's not sustainable.

"I've even drained about $400 of savings just on application fees. Places that said, 'We don't have any availability, we don't have a wait list, but we will still take an application fee from you.' It's like, 'Man, that's money that I could be saving to put towards what's already a inflated rent situation,'" he said.

With no option to live with family, Humphrey said it has led him to cut back on a lot of things and learn to budget wisely.

"When you look at an apartment that hasn't been updated in 10, 15 years, but the rent has doubled, tripled — why?" he asked.

Wimbush tells News 3 she works with renters on budgeting and cheaper options if need be; however, folks will continue to see price hikes for the remainder of the year. She said as of now, there's no sign of them coming down anytime soon.

Here are some resources if you're need of rental assistance:

Click here for more resources from The Rebound.