Many people still have a difficult time finding homes after hurricane Michael and if they find something, they usually can’t afford the rent.
Viewers have called us, saying some local apartment complexes are charging nearly double the pre-storm rental rates.
But not everyone is following the trend. Parkside at the Beach apartment complex opened up in September in Panama City Beach, just a month before the hurricane.
The 288 units quickly filled up.
“We were maybe 20 percent leased before the hurricane. Then we jumped to 100 percent leased in just a few months. I mean there was a lot of influxes of people who needed to come to the area, mostly displaced from the hurricane,“ said First Communities Area Manager Fallon Hasty.
Hasty said the rent at other complexes skyrocketed, with some charging hundreds more than pre-storm.
“We met with the owners and discussed it and its an easy opportunity of course, like everyone else is taking, to raise the rent. But we chose not to do that,“ said Hasty.
She believes that would have been taking advantage of people who are already hurting.
“It’s really tough to have to sell to someone who is going through such a tough time that your rent is going to be x amount of dollars when that’s well above what it actually should be,“ said Hasty.
We reached out to several complex managers, who declined to reveal their pre-Michael rent prices or the amounts of rental rate increases.
We also contacted the Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody who said they’re looking into price anomalies and reviewing all complaints.
“We will not tolerate anyone taking advantage of Floridians, especially victims of Hurricane Michael. Our investigators have been looking into pricing anomalies in Bay and surrounding counties and will review all complaints. If anyone is found to have violated the law, we will hold them fully accountable.”— Attorney General Ashley Moody
To report complaints, please contact the Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (866-966-7226)