MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The cost of housing and rental units just keeps going up, prompting people to search for more affordable options. 

In Maryville, several landlords just in the last year have made the decision to stop working with the Maryville Housing Authority. The moves means fewer apartments are available for renters using Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers, leaving Maryville with a long waitlist of people hoping for a cheaper living option. 

Like many places across the country, the cost of living in Maryville has risen. It has led some landlords to leave the voucher program and rent on their own.  

“The decrease in landlords stems from us not being competitive with the rent,” Maryville Housing Authority Executive Director Julie Sharpe said. “As a business owner, I understand if they can rent their home for $1,800 per month versus with the housing authority. Historically, we could have probably offered $1,300.” 

24 months ago, Maryville Housing Authority was not competitive in their pricing. However, that has since changed. 

“I hope by increasing our payment standards and educating landlords about our program,” Sharpe said. “I feel like some of them don’t know what a housing choice voucher is, or they may have misconceptions of what the program entails.” 

The housing authority has even added more incentives. 

“We have started doing a new incentive for new landlords in the form of a bonus and we are looking to roll out some new incentives at the first of the year, she said. 

Section 8 applications were frozen last year and that is still in effect, but they are looking to open applications back up by next year. 

The Maryville Housing Authority will have a meeting at the end of the month. We are told they will be asking landlords about their decision to leave the voucher program and what MHA can do better in the future.