Channel3000: Call For Action: Tenants at Madison West Side Apartment Property Face 20-40% Rent Hikes

Written by Kathryn Merck. Original Article Found Here.

MADISON, Wis. -- As many residents in the Madison area face increasing rent in order to stay where they live, one tenant at a west side property says the numbers he's facing are particularly outrageous. 

David Rivera-Kohr has lived at his two bedroom apartment at the Royal Arms on Madison's west side for almost three years. He said last year, when his previous landlord died, Orosz Properties became the landlord of his home.

"Since they took over, they've been starting to charge people more,"Rivera-Kohr said. "The new leases being offered have anywhere from like a 20 to 40 percent total rent increase." 

When he first moved in, he said his rent was close to $1,100 a month. Under the new increases he's being asked to pay, rent is $1500 a month. That does not include others fees like heat and water. 

Rivera-Kohr said the increasing rent has left lots of his neighbors frustrated, and many people can't afford it.

"It's terrible," Rivera-Kohr said. "Landlords shouldn't be allowed to do that."

The Tenant Resource Center in Madison has had a couple residents of Orosz Properties reach out to them about the rent increases.

Hannah Refro, the Executive Director of the Tenant Resource Center, says the amount of money the residents at the apartments are being asked to pay lines up with other significant rent increases happening across Dane County. 

According to data they collect for their Rental Assistance Program, the average monthly rate in the county was $1200 in 2023. This year, it is $1500. 

"That is a dramatic increase for a lot of tenants across Dane County," Renfro said. "It's devastating for a lot of families."

For people at Orosz Properties, Rivera-Kohr says it is easier for a graduate student like him to pack up and move as a result of rent increases. However, the same can't be said for his neighbors. 

“A lot of the older folks have a very, you know, limited income, fixed income, and don't feel physically or financially capable of moving out," Rivera-Kohr said. “I'm worried for people who have kids who need to like transfer schools."

Wisconsin law does not put rent increase caps on landlords under current leasing terms. Meaning if a landlord wants to increase their rent a significant among after a lease term ends, they can legally do so. 

Rivera-Kohr says his neighbors have rallied together to try to talk to management about the rent increases but have not had success.

News 3 Now has reached out to management at Orosz Properties multiple times over the course of the past two weeks for comment with no response from those in positions to respond.