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Bellmead family moving out after 166% increase in rent

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:22:45-04

BELLMEAD, Texas — Freya Murray has raised her children in the same house for almost seven years. They all loved and hoped to stay in the Bellmead house for a while, but that is no longer possible.

On Monday she received a notice that her rent would increase from $1,050 to $2,800, a more than 160% increase.

"I immediately laughed because I was like maybe he hit the 2 instead of the 1 because there's no way he thinks we can pay this," Murray said.

The Texas Housing Authority told 25 News there's no limit to how much landlords can raise rent. According to real estate database Zillow, the average annual increase is between 2 to 3% percent nationwide.

"I was fine with a raise, but not $2,800," Murray said. "That's too much."

Murray said she understands inflation and was expecting a slight increase, but she also said there's a lot more to the story.

Before notice of the increase, she said the landlord wanted to hook another tenant's electricity and water to her meter. When she questioned if that was legal his response was her rent was too low which he claimed was also illegal.

"He brings a rent increase letter the same day I said I would call code enforcement and it says rent will increase August 18," she explained. "The next day the city came out and left this, it said it's illegal to have multiple residents hooked up to one meter."

Murray said just 24 hours after the rent increase notice, the landlord told her he wanted her to vacate the property altogether.

"You're making the rent so expensive that you know I can't pay it so I have to move out," she said of him. "That's what you're doing."

Now facing high rates or possibly eviction, Murray said she does not know what to do next.

Murray's landlord did not respond to 25 News requests for comment.