Groups organizing march, rally over rising rents across Atlanta metro

ATLANTA — Rents are shooting up all around metro Atlanta, especially in the city. A grassroots group is now demanding action to bring down rents and protect tenants.

A march and demonstration is being planned for this weekend calling for a tenant’s bill of rights, eviction controls and rent stabilization in the city.

The Housing Justice League gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday asking people to meet at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta Saturday for a march over to the state capitol.

According to the grassroots group, rents jumped nearly 30% in Atlanta in the last year.

“Wages are stagnant. People don’t have anywhere to go,” said Alison Johnson, with the Housing Justice League.

They say predominantly minority communities south and southwest of downtown, like the Pittsburgh neighborhood bordering the Atlanta BeltLine, are hardest hit and blame investor-owners buying up properties to rent.

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“Almost 60,000 properties are owned by corporate investors here in the Atlanta marketplace,” said John Ryan, chief marketing director with the Georgia Multiple Listing Service.

Ryan said MLS research also found investors being priced out of neighborhoods inside the perimeter and are now looking to buy properties farther out.

“Because of availability and scarcity in town, it seems like the corporate investors are really concentrating on the suburbs of metro Atlanta,” Ryan said.

So if investors can’t afford to buy or lease property in the city, what about the average working family?

“Our renters should not feel like they’re second-class citizens because they rent. They have a right to remain in this city. They have a right to safe and decent housing,” Johnson said.

The march is set for noon on Saturday.

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