The big question in Missoula is "can your landlord get blood from stone"? Well, they are certainly trying, aren't they?

The last few years for Missoulians and Montanans, in general, have been rough, to say the least when it comes to housing. Homes to purchase are scarce, and prices are comedically high. The buck doesn't stop at buying houses, however. Renting has become a nightmare in the Big Sky State.

In the past 2 years, my rent has been raised 3 times, and not by small increments either. It was even raised during the Covid shutdown. You know, when nobody, including me, had a job? I've always been a good renter. I pay on time and keep to myself, and have lived in, and supported the Missoula community for nearly 20 years. It seems criminal, right? You might ask, "why are local landlords constantly raising the rent to astronomical prices"? The short answer is "because they can."

Current 2022 estimates suggest that Missoula County now claims 120,000 residents, a 9.5% increase from 2010. However, Gallatin County is now estimated to be Montana's second most populated county with 124,800 residents — up more than 39% since 2010.  - KPAX.COM

It's simple supply and demand. When the demand outweighs the supply, these local landlords and property management companies can raise the rent, and basically, charge whatever they want. What are you going to do? Move? Good luck. There is nowhere else to move, and they know this.

It's not all doom and gloom, however. Recently a bill was brought forth to stop property managers from gouging rent applicants out of application fees. It's become a kind of "scam" where hundreds of people would apply for one unit, and the company would keep all of the fees and of course only give the apartment to one qualifier.

These rent increases are changing the Missoula landscape. I see it daily. Many longtime locals are being forced out or forced to move into a co-living situation well into adulthood. Folks have to work 2-3 jobs to survive while local landlords are making way for out-of-staters with bigger bank accounts, and the city we love is slowly dying.

For a town that was built on being unique and supporting its residents, we're going to end up as another Seattle or Denver very soon.

Enough is enough. We're pleading with your landlords and property managers to stop trying to push out the people that make Missoula a community. In short, keep Missoula weird, not wealthy.

If you are struggling with rent, the Montana Emergency Rental Assistance program might provide some relief. Stay strong Missoula. Remember, there is always strength in numbers.

One Love.  - S

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