Single mother in Aberdeen saw rent increased by 48%

Ashley Washagesic, a single mother from Aberdeen, saw her rent go up by 48% this year.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - According to Zillow Research, rent prices have increased nationwide by over 12%, and South Dakota has the highest percentage of renters who are unable to keep up with their rent.

Ashley Washagesic, a single mother from Aberdeen, saw her rent go up by 48% this year.

Washagesic began renting a home on north Lloyd Street in May of 2020. She paid $775 for the two-bedroom house each month. Washagesic shared the home with her two daughters.

In August, Plaza Rentals bought the property and increased Washagesic’s rent to $1,150 a month. She accepted that she would have to pay another $375 a month, but she just wanted to know why.

”I did ask, and it was just increased rising costs and that’s what the new owner wanted, which that’s fine. If I have to pay that price to live here, that’s fine,” said Washagesic.

Washagesic paid for water, electricity and wi-fi on top of rent. She is also attending classes at Presentation College and working to pay her bills. The rent increase was stressful for Washagesic.

“It’s just insane. 48% increase for rising cost? For a small place that’s not even worth $1,150 a month? That put a huge strain on my financial situation because I’m trying to go to school to better myself for my kids,” said Washagesic.

The rent increase wasn’t where Washagesic’s issues with Plaza Rentals stopped.

”I had called and made a complaint. They had come onto the premises without giving any type of notification and had actually damaged my own property,” said Washagesic.

Washagesic says her yard lights were damaged by Plaza Rental’s mowing company. When she called to make a complaint, she was met the next day by a notice that her lease would be terminated in 30 days. She had to be out of her house by September 30th.

Due to her frustration, Washagesic posted about her story on the Aberdeen Rants and Raves Facebook page. She found out that she wasn’t the only person disappointed with Plaza Rentals.

”As soon as I had posted that, there were tons of people that had reached out and said they were in the same situation, that they had entered the premises, that they had kept raising the rent at random times without efficient enough notification,” said Washagesic.

Other property management companies also reached out to Washagesic after her post.

“Looking at other places that I have now, with other landlords that have reached out to me with the rant that I put up on Facebook, they have actually shown me cheaper places with more square footage. So, that kind of surprised me in a way,” said Washagesic.

Dakota News Now reached out to Plaza Rentals for a statement. When asked if inflation of the housing market and other consumer goods had to do with the rent increase, Plaza Rentals owner Toby Doeden gave the following statement:

“The overwhelming majority of inflation in Aberdeen, like the rest of the Country, was caused by President Biden and his administration’s failed policies. This one particular example has absolutely nothing to do with inflation and Dakota News Now is well aware of this fact. We paid market value for the house and because of that were forced to adjust the rent to market value. Additionally, had Dakota News Now done proper investigating into Aberdeen rent prices they would find that rent prices have actually begun to decrease recently. Rent prices in Aberdeen overwhelmingly are similar to what they were three years ago”

Plaza Rentals did not comment on any damaged personal property.