Priced Out! The Voices of Frustration Resound in Richmond

by | Aug 22, 2023 | COMMUNITY, RICHMOND NEWS, SMALL BUSINESS, SOCIAL JUSTICE

A recent report from Axios stated what everyone was already thinking, rents are too damn high.

In the heart of Richmond, a housing war is simmering, and the voices of frustrated tenants are getting louder. Picture this: Skyrocketing rents, perplexing move-in fees, opulent new apartments, and newcomers brandishing plush bank accounts that locals just can’t compete with. The city, once a haven for affordability, is quickly becoming a playground for the affluent, leaving the everyday Richmond dweller to move out beyond the burbs.

Take a stroll through rental social media groups, message boards, or comment sections related to housing, and you’ll find locals banding together in a spirited pushback against landlords and realtors. It’s not always pretty.

“People charging this much for an apartment in Richmond should be in jail,” in response to a two-bedroom listing in the Fan for $2,420. Or take this fiery retort to a $2,850 three-bedroom house in Midlothian: “At this point you people are just throwing insane numbers out to see if someone is stupid enough to pay it.”

While sites like Apartments.com, Realtor.com, and Rent.com all disagree about the average rent in Richmond (ranging from $1,305 to a steep $1,815), they all harmoniously chant the same bitter truth: rent here is more, way more, than it was last year.

Meanwhile, incomes are barely creeping up, with the median for Richmonders increasing just under 4%. Compare this with the astronomical 24% increase in housing prices since the pandemic began.

The situation’s messy, with application fees, lease signing fees, pet deposits, and other add-ons fueling the fire of frustrations. Lets say 50-$65 just to apply, $200 to sign the lease, extra for pets (both deposits and rent), and sometimes even double the security deposit or income requirements at a staggering four times the monthly rent.

But wait, there’s more! The monthly rent add-ons can include $50 extra for a parking spot, another $50 to wash your clothes in your apartment, and $40 more for something called a Resident Benefits Package.

Yes, there may be a glimmer of hope, as renters’ complaints have led to some price drops. But the underlying tension persists. As one small time landlord told us recently, “I raised the rent on my properties because everyone around me did and they had no problem getting what they asked.”

Richmond, with its rich history and cultural allure, used to be synonymous with good living and affordability. But today, that dream seems increasingly out of reach for many. Richmond is still a great place to live, they say—but only if you can afford it. And that, dear readers, is a sign of a city at a crossroads, caught in a tug-of-war between its past charm and an uncertain future.

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.




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