Tag Archives: rent

Feds Paying Highest Rent in Chattanooa With No-Bid Contract

Plans to save taxpayer money have backfired on federal officials in Chattanooga, according to the Times-Free Press.
A no-bid lease at downtown’s Warehouse Row, initially touted as a way to save on moving expenses, instead resulted in the U.S. attorney’s office paying one of the highest rents in the city.
Taxpayers will foot a $5.75 million rental bill over the 10-year term. The new offices will cost the federal government $1.35 million more than the U.S. General Services Administration’s initial estimate over the next decade and triple the amount now spent to house federal prosecutors in Chattanooga.
…For the same amount, the feds could buy a median-priced home for each of its employees within the next seven years.
The new deal has federal prosecutors paying $29.32 per rentable square foot, or about $54,521 a month, according to documents released in response to an open records request.
“They would be paying the highest rate in the city,” said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate. “You can find space in Chattanooga all day long at $22 per square foot, for full-service, including a generous build-out.”
The rent is more than double the previous rate in the same building — $14 per square foot — and well above Warehouse Row’s advertised lease rate of $16 per square foot.
By not using competitive bidding, federal officials ignored more than 1 million available square feet of office space downtown.

Fed-funded Program to Help Low-Income Renters Squeezed

A federal program that helps low-income families pay their housing costs is being squeezed by a weak economy, according to The Tennessean.
High demand and federal cuts have stretched the budgets for Section 8 vouchers, payments to landlords that help cover the rent for low-income families. Tennessee agencies have been forced to respond by refusing to take on new families, telling landlords that they cannot increase rents and rolling back the amount they are willing to pay, leaving thousands of tenants to make up the difference.
The moves have helped agencies keep as many as 1,000 Middle Tennessee families on the rolls, housing officials say. But they also have kept more people from joining the program, cut into the finances of landlords who rent to low-income families and required those who receive the vouchers to dig deeper for rent.
“It’s been a struggle,” said Darlene Knight, a Bordeaux voucher recipient and fast-food worker affected by the cut. “It’s been a real struggle.”
Middle Tennessee’s two main housing agencies — the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency — have both acted this summer to cut the size of Section 8 vouchers for hundreds of residents, informing them that they will have to pay more of their rent immediately or risk losing rental assistance.