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Rent Inflation Shows That Landlords Have the Upper Hand Again

The Federal Reserve’s rate hikes could add to upward pressure on residential leases.

relates to Rent Inflation Shows That Landlords Have the Upper Hand Again
Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you’re a renter and you moved last year, you’re probably already paying more for shelter. If you didn’t, you may soon find yourself in a similar position, when your lease comes up for renewal.

Outsize residential rent increases spreading from new leases to existing ones has been a distinct pattern in places like the Atlanta and Detroit metro areas, where rents rose in 2021 at the fastest pace in decades, according to Labor Department data, propelled in part by an influx of new arrivals fleeing higher-cost cities. In 2022, the pattern is set to become a nationwide phenomenon, as landlords recoup bargaining power they lost in the early part of the pandemic, when unemployment surged and governments responded by enacting eviction bans.