OSWEGO COUNTY – Rent increases around the state have slowly been increasing over time. In January 2017 the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in New York was $906, compared to $953 in January 2021, based on information from Statista.
Dawn Peters, a single mother in Fairport, moved to the city nearly eight years ago to remain close to her mother with Dementia. Without much notice, her landlord sold the house they’ve been living in.
“The new landlord immediately raised the rent in my half of the home by $300 and then the other half by $500,” Peters said.
Rent increased around the Rochester area nearly 11% since 2021, according to a new report by Realtor. Peters and her family said the sudden increase in rent feels like an attack on “loyal” city residents.
“It’s just mind blowing. I mean, I get that the landlords feel like they have to make up for the losses they’ve taken, but what about us? Where do we go, what do we do?” Peters said. “Because there are plenty of us that pay their bills, and are responsible, and are taking care of a landlord’s home as their own.”
In the Syracuse metro area, which includes Oswego County, rent increased nearly 30% since March 2017, according to a report by Apartmentlist. For some residents, it means monthly rent increased $300 over the course of five years, similar to Peters.
Steve Carvell, a professor at Cornell University, and the director of real estate and finance there, said landlords aren’t all to blame despite what people like Peters have said.
“During the pandemic, there were government programs that first stopped landlords from evicting people, it allowed people to not pay rent, and this caused a lot of problems,” Carvell said.
In New York state, a number of eviction moratoriums, which allowed people to hold off paying rent. Along with rent incentive programs which provided people with (usually) cash incentives to move into city rentals, were emphasized throughout the pandemic. Now, Carvell said, these are gone, and landlords are making up for it.
“Look, I know that we all think of landlords as these, like, money-grubbing humans, or whatever,” Carvell said. “Most of these types of places are not owned by things like, slumlords or something, they’re usually individuals who bought a couple of rental units.”
Carvell called rent a “cyclical process.” He said he believes the fluctuation with rent comes as no surprise with pandemic-related stress but will come down with time.
“There’s not much you can make up, so I would assume again that, during this cycle of rentals we’ll see this settle out.”