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Rising rent prices in Wichita affecting locals

Rent is increasing across the county.
Rent is increasing across the county.(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Demand for rentals is up, meaning prices are rising nationwide. Two Wichita renters say their bills went up as their apartment building filled up and their housing options dwindled.

Dani Jones says she’s lived in the same apartment building in Wichita for five years, and as a truck driver, her home is just a place to rest her head three times a week. However, this year her lease increased by more than $100, and it’s been hard to get a reason why.

“They said ‘we’re gonna tack this on top of your rent,’ and all we got was an email earlier this year about it. It takes me having to call back two or three weeks later for them to talk to me,” said Jones.

More people are looking for their own space. Many who had been in lockdown with their parents or roommates are now moving out to live alone.

The competitive housing market has locked out would-be home buyers. Jones says if her rent continues to increase, she might as well become a homeowner if that was an option.

“It’s one of the cheapest in a decent area I can get. That’s the only reason I stay. I, a 29-year-old, talked to my parents about moving back in with them to try to save up to buy a house. If I’m going to be treated like a homeowner, I might as well go buy a house,” said Jones.

Across Sedgwick County, rent has increased more than 8% since 2019, according to a Washington Post study, and low-wage workers are disproportionately impacted. Amanda, a housing case manager, sees how hard it is for her clients to find an affordable place to live.

Amanda says, “I’ve seen rents going up. It impacts my clients that are looking for housing and myself. When I found out my rent was going to increase, I tried to find something better for cheaper. However, everything blew up, and I couldn’t afford anything else, so I decided to go ahead and sign the lease.”

She says she doesn’t see this changing anytime soon. Kansas law currently does not limit how much your rent can be raised or how often--when a new lease is signed.

Merritt says if you are struggling to pay your rent prices, there are many resources that may help. She recommends applying for the section 8 housing waiting list.

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