Although the couple are seeking help from local programs to make the transition more comfortable, Zellman said legal and financial assistance is limited for people like him.
“We don’t have any savings,” Zellman said. “We are going from check to check right now. I mean, we survive.
A complex problem
In February, Zellman contracted COVID-19 while traveling for work out of state, so he was unable to pay cash rent, which he says is the way owners require it. It was the start of problems that snowballed: the family received eviction warnings and were charged late fees, but it all got worse when the landlords raised their rent.
“Luci (Haning) and I are not going to pay $2,000. Period,” Zellman said.
Although their situation is dire, others are also facing steep increases. The average cost of an apartment in Clark County has increased by $652 over the past 10 years, according to Mike Wilkerson, director of analytics at ECONorthwest.
But for single-family rental homes like Zellman and Haning’s, rent increases aren’t as tracked because they’re only available through 2020 census data. Wilkerson said the data is also self-reported and tends to be skewed. lower than professionally managed properties.