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Rising rents: Syracuse woman struggles as landlord proposes $1000 increase

Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse resident Shanah Williams is part of a growing number of people searching for other places to live that she can afford.

Back in May, her landlord sent her a letter, saying he was raising rent by $1000 dollars in July. We asked Williams what she thought when she first read the letter. She said she was “basically thinking that I’m going to be homeless.”

Her landlord told CNY Central over the phone that the reason for the huge hike in rent is to keep up with the cost of living.

Zillow’s Observed Rent Index shows a $246 dollar increase across the United States as of November. The average rent in Syracuse is $1,200 dollars, which is up at least $100 compared to last year. It’s the same story in Rochester and Buffalo.

“I don’t have the money to pay him more,” Williams said.

She showed us the letter she wrote back to her landlord, citing New York State law about getting enough notice about a rent increase.

Ryan McCall, a lawyer with Tully Rinckey PLLC said he would argue that Williams is right and that the law is on her side.

“And the reason I say that is because it really depends on the timing,” McCall said. “Say the person was served May 25 with that document, right? Saying, ‘We’re increasing your rent by $1,000.’ At that point, the clock would really start for the 90 days, because they’ve lived there for more than two years,” he added. “So I would say that rent increase really wouldn’t be able to take effect and if my math is correct, I would say probably not until either the end of August or early September.”

Williams said so far she is not having any luck finding another place to live. She says she’s worried for the future and how she’ll pay her bills.

“I’m just trying to get someone to to help me to figure out, you know, what is going on,” she explained.

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