Rent Increases Once Again Gain Steam, Forcing Some From Home

NBC Universal, Inc.

In the next few days, movers will arrive to help Donna Cathey pack up and move from Grapevine to Lake Worth.

It’s a choice she says she was forced to make.

"Just a couple of weeks before Christmas I got the letter in my mailbox stating that my rent was going to go up to $1295,” said Donna Cathey.

Add in a new responsibility for some utilities and Cathey said she and several neighbors at her 55 and up the community are facing an increase of about $400 dollars a month.

“Coming down that sidewalk I opened that letter up and I almost fell flat on my face. I was like, there's no way this can be right,” she said.

A recent report from Apartments.com showed that since 2019, rent rates have increased by $230 in Fort Worth, $250 in Dallas, and $400 in Plano.

According to its analysts, rates are rising again after a brief cooldown.

Those increases are a problem according to the Texas Tenants' Union.

Executive Director Sandy Rollins said they continually get calls from people struggling to pay as Dallas's average rent rate of $1,535, which is inches closer to the average social security benefit of $1,827 a month.

"There was already a lack of affordable housing pre-pandemic, it certainly hasn't gotten any better during the pandemic. You know, low-wage workers and people on fixed incomes, retirees and people with disabilities are really between a rock and a hard place,” said Rollins.

After the Texas Rent Relief portal was overwhelmed with 70,000 applications in the first 24 hours since it was reopened Tuesday, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced it would close early.

When the portal first opened in 2021, its busiest day saw less than 20,000 applications.

For those, like Cathey, who don't qualify the only option is to look for housing elsewhere. She said it took her months to find availability at a price she could afford, and it was farther from friends and family than she'd like to be.

Still, her thoughts are with neighbors who no longer work and have even fewer options.

"I understand about fair market value," she said. "I understand about property taxes and all of that, but I really just think this is all about corporate greed."

Contact Us