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WACO

Some Public Housing Tenants May Pay More in Rent

WACO, TX (KXXV) - Some public housing tenants may notice a rent hike next time they sign their lease.

Housing authorities nationwide must increase their flat rent rate, if it does not comply with the requirements of a federal law.

Under the Appropriations Act of 2014, flat rent must be 80 percent of the market rent, which is the rental price someone would pay for a similar unit in the area.

Waco Housing Authority will be phasing in the rent change in a three-year period. In this particular case, it can only increase the rent 35 percent per year.

Milet Hopping, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Waco Housing Authority, said it is gradually increasing the prices to make it easier on people.

In addition, they hopes that congress would revise and change this law before people pay the full amount in rent hike.

Bertha Edwards pays flat rent for her one-bedroom apartment at South Terrace. 

For some like Edwards, who pays $250 in flat rent for a one-bedroom apartment, when this change is implemented in October, it would bump her monthly rent to nearly $320. 

This mandate went into effect in June, but housing authorities have until October 31 to start offering higher flat rate rents.

"It wouldn't bother us,” said Edwards. “My husband gets $700, and I get $200."

However, she would pay nearly $450 for this same home, if she chose flat rent. She said she may have to consider other housing options at this rate.

“That would be something that I would have to think about,” said Edwards. “$400 for a one-bedroom would be too much, and it is just me and my husband.”

Edwards and other tenants can pick between flat rent and income-based rent, which is 30 percent of their income.

Edwards said she will pick whichever is cheaper.

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