Surging rent prices concerning some Rochester residents

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rent prices have exploded across the country, causing many people to downsize or dig into their savings to make up the new costs.

Here in Rochester, prices for rental properties are the highest they’ve ever been with no end in sight.

According to a report from, in Rochester rent went up more than 11% compared to last year and no matter where you live, in the city or suburbs, many are seeing it.

“Three years ago my rent was $898 for 2020,” said Jeff Nasca of Penfield. “In 2021 it was $954 and now starting March 1 it’s going up to $1,156."

Nasca is one of the many feeling the impact of the new market as apartment prices continue to rise.

“I mean I am going to have to watch some spending, cut back on a couple things, see what that does for a year then see what happens,” Nasca said.

“The rental market is very connected to the home purchasing market,” said Greater Rochester Association of Realtors President Lanie Bittner. “Right now there is a housing shortage across the nation. Rochester is not the only area seeing that. It is certainly happening across the country that we just, we don’t have enough housing available for the people that want it that need it.”

Bittner said right now the demand for any type of housing currently outweighs supply.

“So costs are rising all across the board, which makes it difficult for a landlord who is you know trying to do the right thing to stay afloat because if he or she can’t stay afloat owning that property, then they can’t own that property,” Bittner said.

Bittner said it’s important to prepare and weigh all options as these prices could stay for a while.

“I don’t expect prices to go down dramatically anytime soon,” Bittner said. “I know apartments and vacancies, I know the increase in that is part of what they look at from an inflation perspective and prices are going up generally on everything these days."

That impact is being felt across Monroe County.

“We’re talking to a lot of longtime residents in the city of Rochester who are seeing rent hikes they can’t afford and are getting priced out of their homes,” Ritti Singh of the City-Wide Tenant Union of Rochester said.

Singh said they are getting several calls a week from people concerned as the price of rent continues to jump up.

“A lot of folks that we talk to they actually say isn’t this illegal and the truth is right now it’s perfectly legal for a landlord to raise rent as much as he wants as long as he’s following requirement’s for notice,” Singh said.

That’s true. According to the Attorney General’s Office and New York State Law, if you live in an apartment that is not rent-stabilized or controlled, there is no limit on how much your landlord can increase rent. However, they must give you advanced written notice before they can raise rent by 5% or more.

“If a landlord is trying to raise your rent 4% from what it currently is then they wouldn’t have to give you any lead time. If it’s 5% of more they would have to give you 30, 60, or 90 days lead time of how long you lived in the property or what your current agreement is,” Mark Muoio with Legal Aid Society of Rochester said.

Muoio said right now there’s no action that you can take and if you don’t agree, it’s time to start looking for a new place.

“I wouldn’t think they’d really, in any case, you would have a cause of action against your landlord for proposing to make your rent higher and just by law it’s not higher until the time comes in so you just pay your old rent,” Muoio said.

Singh said the union is asking the city to pass good cause eviction protection and stabilization laws for tenants, especially those in the black and brown communities.

Stabilize Rochester (2021) – Google Docs by News10NBC on Scribd

“So when we don’t protect our black and brown families and we don’t protect them from these rent increases, we’re saying that you know you don’t matter in our community we don’t really care about what’s happening to you so we need to pass these protections to stabilize and ensure that all families in our community have homes,” Singh said.

Singh said they are hoping to see that legislation gets introduced as soon as possible and passed.