Letter: ‘Rent is far too high in Clark County right now’, and there are no protections for tenants, especially in this time of COVID.

Camas resident Mark Wey believes there is a lack of protection for tenants, especially in this time of COVID

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

I would like to call attention to a serious issue that is affecting myself, my parents and another family. We all live together and we all have had COVID, even those of us who were fully vaccinated. This has resulted in missed work by the two primary breadwinners in our house.

Mark Wey
Mark Wey

In July the lease on our rental expired. We had been paying $3600.00 a month. As of the writing of this letter no new lease contract has been provided. The lady with whom my parents split the rent managed to get a verbal agreement of $2600.00 a month. On Sept. 27, we received an unofficial notice of rent increase to $3200.00 on Oct. 1. As we were not under contract and had a verbal agreement, we ignored the notice and paid $2600.00 – the agreed upon amount. Our landlord sent a text telling us we had only paid for 27 days rent, and we had to leave on the 27th, which is today.

That is the situation in a nutshell, and we have been looking for another place to no avail. Which brings me to my point. The rent is far too high in Clark County right now, and there are no protections for tenants, especially in this time of COVID. I want to draw attention to this issue. Some protections and regulations are needed, because few people have $3600 just laying around from their 9-5 job to pay for rent each month. If you crunch the numbers you see that in order for someone to afford this, they would have to be earning $5000 a month, to cover food, utilities, gas, insurance (car, health and possibly life) and any car payments. That’s $60,000 a year. My dad worked at Safeway for over 30 years and the most he ever earned was half that.

I would like you to thoroughly examine, research and publish about this issue. As it currently stands, landlords can ask for any amount they desire for rent, and they will get it, because there is too much demand, too little supply and absolutely no tenant protection. But where does that leave two hardworking families like us? We represent the majority of the workers in Clark County, who earn little more than minimum wage. Where are we supposed to live? Where are the protections for those of us who have lost work, or worse, our jobs due to COVID? I think those who encourage and perpetuate this flawed system like to keep it hidden, away from the public eye. So the only way to change things is to bring it all into the light. I hope you will do this, for us and all those like us.

Mark Wey

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