High rents force out tenants from Lafayette apartment complex

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Big city rent increases have forced a lot of people into the suburbs, but now the suburbs are experiencing the same problem. ABC7 News spoke to residents living on Second Street in Lafayette who say they're being unfairly priced out.

One resident who wanted to remain anonymous said, "There's a fear. All of our neighbors are scared, even when they get a letter on their door, that's going to be eviction or rent increase. And everyone is just living in fear every day. It's really hard to find housing and so we're really struggling."

The rent at a Lafayette apartment complex on Second Street has skyrocketed as high as 90 percent, ever since the new property owner took over and tenants are afraid of retaliation for speaking out.

One man says he's moving after the lease on his two-bedroom unit went from $1,300 to $2,200 a month.

Residents say high rents have forced out at least 12 tenants. The apartment owners did not respond to our request for an interview.

A tenant rights attorney says without rent control laws, landlords can raise the rates as high as they want.

"But again, it's something that we can take action," said Leah Simon of Tenants Together. "We can pass Rent Control and Just Cause in every single community."

That would require a rent control board to monitor the rent control law.

"You need a whole body to process all that, and that's money that we don't have," said Lafayette City Councilmember Mike Anderson.

The Lafayette City Council is now considering an emergency moratorium to stop the rent hikes, and they could take action as early as May 11.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.