LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Low-income renters in the valley may be getting some protection from pricey rent payments. As many look for affordable housing, many have found themselves simply locked out.
Carissa Zepeda says her rent has increased significantly in the last six months.
"We were paying $850 for a 2 bedroom and now we are at about $1,300," Zepeda said.
She says she moved here from California with her family to escape the high cost of living, but just in the past six months, she says rents have skyrocketed.
"The prices have jumped right up, and they are equal to California’s prices," Zepeda explained.
Zepeda and her husband are both working to provide for their family. With U.S. inflation hitting a record 40-year high, keeping a roof over their heads is a challenge.
"With rents getting that high it seems like you are paying for nice prices for lower-income neighborhoods," Zepeda said.
Rep. Steven Horsford, Nevada Congressman, has filed the Housing Oversight, Mitigation, and Exploitation Act, also known as the HOME ACT. The law would penalize corporate investors who are renting or selling property at unreasonable prices and put monies into a fund to be used for affordable housing.
The bill would also cap the number of homes institutional investors could acquire in a market to prevent price manipulation. The department of housing and urban development would determine which prices are unreasonable and punish violators.
“They're taking advantage of them, they're manipulating them. And then they gouge those constituents and the whole neighborhood,” Horsford said.
Rep. Horsford says investors are targeting middle-class families and raising rents by more than 30%. Something Zepeda agrees needs to stop.
"You should only be able to go up on rent a certain percentage and it seems like they have maxed out on that and have added some on top of that," said Zepeda.
Representative Horsford says a hearing has taken place for the home act and he is waiting for a vote. The bill would still have to pass in the house and the senate before it goes to the president to sign into law.