KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Crystal Vreux-Gerbier has lived at the Belvedere Avenue Apartments for the last nine and a half years, but earlier this month she was told she had 30 days to move out after receiving a non-renewal notice.
“I was very surprised,” Vreux-Gerbier said. “I planned on staying there for many years to come.”
It’s a notice that Attorney Daniel Herrera said has been surprising many as it’s now being seen more nationally and locally.
“I think a lot of that is happening because of the housing market in Knox County,” Herrera said.
According to Apartment List, rent has increased by over 18 percent in comparison to this same time last year. Currently, the median rents in Knoxville are $1,187 for a one-bedroom apartment and it only goes up from there.
“You see places that were going for half their values, whether it’s purchasing or renting, double the values and people are paying it eagerly,” Attorney Jed McKeehan said.
Vreux-Gerbier has paid $625 for years and has been on a month-to-month lease since April. The new price is double that, now costing $1,025. Even though it’s more than what Vreux-Gerbier has been paying for almost the last decade, the non-renewal notice didn’t allow her the opportunity to sign a lease at the new price.
By Tennessee law, it’s a legal move landlords can make, which is why McKeehan said being month-to-month can be a risk.
“The problem from the tenants’ perspective is on that kind of plan, if the owner gives them 30 days notice and says, ‘Hey you’re out in 30 days,’ they really have no way to remedy that,” McKeehan said. “They can’t pay rent, it’s just over and done with and they have no say in it, and that can be hard, especially in this market,” he said.
For Vreux-Gerbier, she’s in the middle of the housing market chaos. She said her apartment’s management gave her the notice with the direction the owners want to go with the property. WATE also reached out to property management about the non-renewal with a similar statement, “This was a request from the owner.”
“I am working seven days a week just to crunch time to come up with enough money to be able to move since everything costs double what I pay now,” Vreux-Gerbier said.
Now, Vreux-Gerbier has only two and a half weeks to find a new home.
“I’m feeling very sad. I planned on being there for a long time to come. It’s the only home two of my three dogs have ever known. I just didn’t see it coming, so it’s very sad and stressful and overwhelming all at the same time.”
Both Herrera and McKeehan said it’s best to sign a year-long lease instead of being on month-to-month to avoid any unexpected changes.