Senior renter in Gwinnett says she’s received 4 rent increase notifications in a year

Residents living at Grayson Ridge, an independent senior apartment complex in Gwinnett County say they have concerns about recent rent increase notifications.

A renter spoke anonymously with Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln about the purposed increase.

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She says since moving in last May, she’s received four notices of different amounts of a rent increase, at the end of her lease. In January she was told her rent would increase $225 and by March, it would go up another $34.

She said she also received a text message from management saying they’re actually waiting for conformation on the exact amount for the increase.

“If you’re going to go up on the rent, you don’t need to send out in a year’s time, five, six, seven notices telling everybody something different,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect,” she said.

The independent senior complex participates in a low-income housing tax credit program.

“You’re talking about people who can eventually not afford it,” she said. “I’m definitely nervous.”

The National Housing Law Project’s Advocate Guide for Tenant Rights, says federal affordable housing rules only establish the maximum amount of rent an owner can charge a tenant.

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However, the rules do not limit the amount or frequency of rent increases.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs says there is state oversight to protect renters. DCA says state law prohibits landlords from raising rent in the middle of a lease. And if rent increases more than 5%, landlords have to give a 120 day notice.

A spokesperson for the property said that the fluctuation of numbers is based on the area’s median income, and not an individual’s income. As those numbers go up, so does the rent.

According to HUD, the median income for Gwinnett County grew from just over $86,000 in 2021 to more than $96,000 in 2022.

The property’s management said they plan to have several town hall meetings for the residents. This year’s numbers won’t be released from HUD until May.

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Officials with Grayson Ridge have issued a statement, saying:

“Grayson Ridge was developed using the Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. In exchange for tax credits that encourages investors to provide roughly 30% of the cost of the building, we agree to cap rents at levels set by the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a determined set of time. The rest of the cost of the building is assumed by the developer and financed through loans that are repaid over time, much like a home mortgage.

Grayson Ridge was a new construction development and when residents first moved into their units, rents were based on 2021 HUD guidelines using the area median income. In November, HUD provided the new 2022 rent guidelines. Rather than increase rents, Grayson Ridge residents were provide a rent credit to cover the difference between the 2021 rent amount they were paying and the new 2022 rents and were told that rents would increase with the 2023 HUD guidelines when residents renewed their lease.

In January residents received a letter with preliminary 2023 rent information stating that the new rent amounts would not be finalized until HUD released final numbers in May. As Grayson Ridge management received updated numbers, it passed on that information to its residents to ensure they had the most accurate information. Residents will be provided their final rent amount when HUD releases them in May. Residents will begin paying the new rents when their lease is renewed. There will be no rent increases implemented until July 2023.”