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Renters scramble to find new housing, complex raises monthly rent by hundreds

Renters say they were notified in July 2021 about the change in ownership at West Hill Apartments
Posted at 7:34 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 13:09:38-04

PUEBLO — Zachary Basquez is a single-father in Pueblo, and has been renting the same apartment for he and his 7-year-old son for the past four years.

He says he was "shocked" when he came home to find the notice below taped to his door, stating that their rent would be raised from $800.00 per month on a month-to-month lease, to $1,050.00. If Basquez re-signs for a month-to-month lease, the base price is $1,350.00 per month for "convenience".

News 5 reached out to the company that now owns West Hill Apartments to comment on the price increase, but was told that anyone who could comment was out of the office. We are still awaiting a response with further reasoning for the rent increase. Residents say they were notified that a new company would be purchasing the apartments back in July.

“Right now there’s not anything that’s affordable or anything that’s near decent, there are some out there but they’re kinda ran down there is not very much in the affordable market range,” said Basquez, who has been searching high and low for a new place to live that is within his price range and "safe" for his son.

Basquez says, as of right now, they plan on moving into his grandparent's garage and converting it into a studio because nothing is available for rent that meets his needs.

Basquez's downstairs neighbors said, "I could see a $50 hike, a $100 hike, even $150, but $300 right off the bat? Come on now".

"Unless there is really a nationwide movement to allocate more vouchers to involve the private community along with the government in housing people… We're going to see a crunch for a while," said Linda Stefanic, a landlord in Pueblo for roughly 40 years.

She says the price of insurance doubled for her properties this year.

According to Colorado's Census Data, Pueblo County's population increased by 5.7% from 2010 to 2020. Vacant Housing Units decrease by 25.5% during the same time frame.

“Anything below 5% vacancy is considered a problem,” said Stefanic.

The Pueblo Housing Authority offers resources for housing aid, including vouchers, but there is currently a waiting list.

Basquez says many of his neighbors in the complex have already started moving out.