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Tampa woman shocked to see 45% increase in rent

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 05:47:58-04

TAMPA, Fla. — What's the price of paradise? It's the question Erika Belezarian is asking right now.

Belezarian moved to Tampa last October, choosing to settle in at Society Westshore. Her apartment recently told her if she decides to stay another year, it'll cost 45% more.

"I think that it's a little bit unconscionable. We are experiencing such insane inflation right now and are on the brink of a recession. So for apartment ownership in the city of Tampa to be asking people to pay this amount of an increase, because I know it's not unique to me, it's not unique to my building. It feels really wrong," Belezarian said.

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When she moved in, her base rent was $1,937. If she signs on for a second year, she'll have to pay $2,821.

She said the apartment complex sent the letter well before its 60-day notice. She was expecting the letter in mid-August, not early July.

"So to get this letter in July, making it sound like a really great offer that I need to let them know by the middle of the month about this $884 rent increase was kind of shocking," said Belezarian.

ABC Action reached out to Society Westshore about the rent increases. The complex declined to comment.

"There is nothing in the renewal letter that says whether they're making any sort of improvements or offering new services here. It's really just a market increase is what they're calling it," Belezarian added. "So if that were the case, for this large rental increase, then I would love that to be communicated so that we could know where our money was going."

There are options for all renters who are feeling the same shock as Belezarian, regardless of their apartment complex.

You can negotiate your rent with your landlord. Tampa-based tenant/landlord attorneys say the best idea is to research similar apartments or houses in your area, put your findings into a letter, and make sure you negotiate before your lease is up.

That's what Belezarian plans to do.

"I'm hoping to negotiate it to something that works for both of us. And if we can't, then I'll find somewhere else in the city to live," she said.