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Through the Roof: Renter facing nearly $400 increase in Jacksonville

"It was a complete shock this year, almost $400. That's absolutely ridiculous".

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Soaring rent and home prices are putting some living situations out of reach. 

A Jacksonville renter is facing a nearly $400-a-month increase, and another says her dreams of buying a home are now crushed.

“The prices are just exorbitant here in Jacksonville. And they've been that way over the last year or two," said Rebecca Ann Nelson, a Jacksonville renter.

Nelson lives at Atlantic Crossing Apartments on the Southside. Her mother, Pamela Franklin, has an apartment there too, and just received her lease renewal notice.

"It was a complete shock this year, almost $400, that's absolutely ridiculous," Nelson said.

The cost of Franklin’s three-bedroom, two-bath apartment jumped from $1800 to $2200 dollars a month, an 22% increase.

Franklin has lived there more than seven years, but her daughter says she has little choice but to pay up.

“Even if she were to move to say, another rental community, you incur the cost of moving. My mom is older, so she obviously would be paying someone else to handle her move for her," Nelson said. "So there are fees included with transferring to another unit, even if she wanted to downsize within this community.”

Nelson expects the same when her lease is up in July.

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“I've looked at other units in the area, and they all are running in the same price range.So it feels like the market is extremely bloated. It feels like the organizations that run these apartment communities are raising the rates out of greed," Nelson said.

Nelson had hoped to eventually buy her own home, but, unable to save, she’s now afraid she will become a life-long-renter or be forced to move out of Jacksonville altogether.

"'That's what the market is doing.' That's generally the response, and I've heard that even from shopping at other communities. Well, I'm sorry, that's just that's what the market is right now... I don’t know how anyone can afford it, I just, I don’t."

We reached out to her rental company who said in a statement renewal rents are consistent with market rents for similar properties. At 22 percent, the increase is still lower than the current city average – now about 30 percent.

"Doesn't even seem like that should even be appropriate. So I'd like to see some laws put in place that limits the amount of increase that a company can charge a tenant,” said Nelson.

Currently, Florida law does not put a limit on how much a landlord can increase the rent when a lease is being renewed. But they are not allowed to raise the rent in the middle of the lease. 

A 30-day notice of a rent increase is standard, but not required. 

For month-to-month leases, landlords must provide at least 15 days’ notice.

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