KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More and more people have been making the move to Knoxville and the market reflects that popularity. For several years now, home buyers have been facing an increasingly competitive market, and rental prices are following that trend; going up as availability goes down.

Tom Ruggles moved to Knoxville in 2020. He said his rent has continued going up since moving.

“My rent has gone up 25%,” Ruggles said. “I know there’s a number of renters whose rent has gone up even more than that.”

Ruggles is not alone. Taylor McCarty lives in an apartment in West Knoxville. She said her rent is also increasing.

“Companies are just charging what they can get away with,” McCarty said. “It’s market value, market value you re-access every time your rent is up it goes up every time. Our rent went up over $200 this time. They want the people, they can’t house the people.”

As prices continue to trend upward, renters don’t understand the reasoning behind it.

“Our units aren’t being improved at the rates to justify these sort of ridiculous increases that we are really just getting squeezed by this and not really seeing the benefit of any new improvements to our living units,” Ruggles said.

In May, the East Tennessee Realtors predicted that rent would go up 4% next year, forcing families to make big financial decisions or simply leave.

“We’re going to have to have to re-evaluate our living situation and hopefully move to Loudon County where honestly it’s not much better, but if I can get a little bit more space for about the same price I’m paying now then we’ll absolutely take that,” McCarty said.

With wallets getting thinner, several renters say that change is a need, not a want with several planning to voice their concerns at Tuesday’s Knoxville City Council meeting.

“It’s a place for renters to get together and express their concerns to the council, so they feel heard with what they’re facing with the high rent increases and some maintenance issues and things like that,” Ruggles said.

He said the group attending the meeting hopes that changes will be made to help renters in Knoxville.