Madison rent hikes cause housing scramble
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Whether it be living downtown, renting near campus or finding a single-family home, residents say living in Madison is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
As a result, some housing advocates are saying long-time residents are being displaced as new developments take over.
“It’s all fine and well if you end up having really nice shiny, expensive buildings, but if you don’t have the people who make up the character of the city living there, then what do you have? Just very shiny, pretty buildings,” Sunmi Famele, resource strategist for the Progress Center for Black Women, said.
Famele says two-thirds of the women she works with are struggling with housing issues.
Meanwhile, new luxury apartment complexes continue to be built, and UW Madison students are also asking for more affordable options, like dorms on campus, to help close the housing gap.
Ndemazea Fonkem, chair of the Associated Students of Madison, says the main issue for all students is housing.
”When I moved from freshman to sophomore year, our rent was going up from $700 to $950 a bedroom,” Fonkem said. “So we were grateful we had found somewhere else because it wasn’t an option for us to stay.”
She says students tell her the competitive dash to find an affordable space somewhat near campus typically starts a year before anyone even signs a lease.
For those experiencing rent hikes, recourse is limited for tenants.
Under Wisconsin state law, no local governments can implement rent control, meaning a landlord can legally raise rent by however much they’d like. However, landlords must give at least a 28-day notice before implementing rent increases.
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