Senior citizens fearful and frustrated as South Setauket assisted living home raises rent by close to 20%
Dozens of older adults living at the Atria Senior Living in South Setauket are facing rent hikes of hundreds of dollars a month.
A notice from Atria management to residents states that around a 20% rent hike takes effect in the new year. That is equivalent to around $700 to $900 a month for those who live there.
Roberta Barone, 79, says she sold her house and all of the money she made is gone.
Her daughter, Pam Galente, is worried where her mother will go if they can't afford to keep her at Atria Senior Living.
"There aren't many options for senior living, especially on Long Island," Galente says.
A spokesperson for the company blames the rent hike on inflation, saying in part, "These increases are based on several factors including increased operational expenses like wages, taxes, insurance and the increased costs of goods and services due to higher inflation."
Caleb Silver, of Investopedia, says Atria's 20% rent increase is over the top, saying that there is a 1.38% increase in rents on average in Suffolk County.
"It sounds like they have enough demand where they can do that," Silver says "They have enough pricing flexibility where they're able to raise the rent and there's no backlash, at least not yet."
For the seniors who live there, it could mean leaving the place they currently call home.
"One of my daughters is going to have to take me in," Barone says. "I don't know where else to go."
Experts say senior independent and assisted living facilities have price flexibility when setting rent increase because they are not as tightly regulated as rent-controlled apartments.