Metro Atlanta tenants and landlords navigate steep increases in rent

A for rent sign is posted on a building in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Rents have been climbing throughout Metro Atlanta. Zillow now puts its estimate of market rent near $1,900, rising almost 30% since the start of the pandemic.

Both landlords and tenants are figuring how to navigate the region’s increasingly expensive housing.  

Laura Agadoni, a real estate writer based in Marietta, rents out five properties. She said she typically keeps lease renewal hikes between 2% and 5%.

But recently, it’s been challenging.

 “I’ve never seen rent increases like this except for COVID,” she said.

Agadoni said a lot of her expenses grew with the pandemic.

Supplies, appliances and contractors became more expensive. Then, home prices also went up by double digits, which she says leads to higher property taxes and insurances.

“I mean, it’s all up,” she said. “And that’s why I have to raise the rent this year— which I don’t like to do it either.”

Agadoni still aims for rents below market rate, which she said the bigger, corporate landlords typically dictate.

For one renter in Clayton County, the rising market rate around Atlanta is pulling housing out of reach.

After five years in her three-bedroom home, she saw her rent go from roughly $1,000 to $1,500— a 50% increase.

“I wasn’t expecting it to go up like it just did,” she said.

She didn’t want to share her name because she doesn’t want to lose the place— even with the jump in rent. She has three kids and all the other rentals she’s found now charge the same or more.

“I’m just stressed. I’m stressed every single day,” she said, “and trying to get overtime every day that I can, every chance that I can.”

Before the pandemic, she felt ready to buy a home. Now with gas and food prices also growing, she doesn’t know what the future is like. She said she tries not to think about it.

“It’s just, every time you turn around,” she said, “everything is going up.”

For more on how market conditions impact Atlanta housing, view the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on June 1. Info on how to attend or view: