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Thursday December 2nd, 2021 11:16PM

Price for rent on the rise in North Georgia

By Lauren Hunter Multimedia Journalist

For those who are not ready to purchase a home yet, renting an apartment might seem like a better fit.

However, the price to rent an apartment is not what it used to be in Northeast Georgia. According to the website Apartments.com, apartment rent in Gainesville is up 7.1 percent from last year. This increase means that currently, a two-bedroom apartment in Gainesville costs roughly 100 dollars more per month compared to last year.

Kathline Collins, owner of Collins Property Group in Gainesville, said the increased cost of rent has a lot to do with the higher price tags for homes. However, she said landlords are also wanting to raise the cost of rent to make up for lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collins said the Federal Eviction Protection enacted during the pandemic has prevented landlords from evicting tenants behind on rent. In addition, many landlords have lost money from increased costs for property maintenance.

“For the past year, there are a good number of landlords who’ve been suffering, to be honest, with inability to evict tenants and hesitant to raise the rents during COVID for people who were paying on time,” said Collins. “Some landlords are trying to play catch up because really their properties were probably at market a year and a half ago.”

Collins added that some rental properties are homes purchased by large rental companies, cleaned up and then placed on the rental market. The price of these properties will reflect the time and cost of materials put in by these companies.

Another potential issue tenants face is a lack in availability for rental properties. Holly Owens with Owens Management Group said in an email statement that they have a waiting list for their rental properties.

“We rarely have to advertise properties for rent because we can typically pull from the waiting list,” said Owens. “Our current tenants are staying put, even with a slight increase in rent.”

Owens added that her group tries to keep tenants in an apartment when their lease comes up for renewal, but has to also cover costs for a landlord.

Collins said tenants may complain about an increase in rent at first, but ultimately decide to stay when they realize rent in surrounding complexes is the same.

Both women said landlords are buckling down on their expectations for tenants. No more is the usual “first come, first serve” mentality for snagging rental properties.

“We’ve changed some of our rental screening process and really tightened them up,” said Collins. “We’re looking for even better candidates than we were before. Now we are looking for the absolute best candidate, the highest income, no co-signer, great credit, that kind of thing.”

Owens added that landlords are also looking for a candidate with a clean rental history.

“Landlords are now weighing rental history verification heavily,” she said. “We want to make sure that the tenant will pay rent on time and also maintain the property.”

Collins recommended gathering all documents needed to apply for a rental property before filling out an application. Some of the documents include income documentation and rental references.

“The cleaner their application is and the more complete, [the higher] their chances of getting any individual property,” she said.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: apartments, rent, rental properties, Kathline Collins, Collins Property Group, Owens Management Group
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