CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Activists in Charlotte protested rising home rent costs by going straight to corporate offices Wednesday afternoon.

Protestors from a group called Renters Rising took their message to the lobby of the corporate office of Invitation Homes in north Charlotte.

They’re demanding that corporate landlords put a 3% cap on rent increases, give them a grievance process, and they also don’t want to be priced out from buying a home.

No one answered the door when protestors aggressively banged on it inside the lobby of Invitation Homes Wednesday, but that did not stop the crowd.

“We will not leave until we get answers, we will not leave, we will not leave,” the crowd chanted.

Action NC and other community activists staged a protest Wednesday because they’re fed up with increasing rent prices.

“It makes me feel terrible to know that other families are dealing with the same thing we are, living in substandard living conditions,” said Jake Lineberger, a renter. “It is not fair whatsoever.”

Lineberger says he’s been renting with Invitation Homes for four years in south Charlotte, and with each new lease, he says his rent goes up $200.

“It is hard for us to find people who will allow us to become first-time homeowners,” said Lineberger. “We’ve tried numerous times but to no avail, and we are stuck in this vicious cycle of rent increases and not being able to find other ways of living.”

A national director of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America says corporate landlords like Invitation Homes need to release their properties back to homeowners who live in the homes, and people need the choice to rent with the option to buy.

“What’s happening with these corporate landlords is they’re starting another mortgage crisis,” said Erick Exum with NACA. “They’re gobbling up all of the affordable housing in low and moderate, particularly Latin American and Black neighborhoods, making it virtually unattainable for homeownership in these communities.”

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Protestors were asked to leave by security.

Now, protestors are left wondering if the corporations will hear them.

“If we don’t get no housing, they don’t get no peace; if we don’t get no housing, they don’t get no peace,” the protestors chanted.

The National Rental Home Council sent us a statement (see below) saying they met with Renters Rising, the group doing the protests Wednesday, twice in recent months. They will continue to meet with the group to discuss issues.

The group told us that the protestors were throwing items at the office building Wednesday, but Queen City News did not see that during the protests today.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were at the location on the outside to keep a check on things.

Statement from the National Rental Home Council

The National Rental Home Council has met with Renters Rising twice during recent months. Due to an unforeseen situation, NRHC requested to reschedule our most recent meeting time with Renters Rising, and we continue to await their response to our request to reschedule. It’s unfortunate that rather than respond to our rescheduling request, Renters Rising chose to engage in unruly and intimidating behavior today, including throwing items at an office building and aggressively knocking on exterior windows.

All of NRHC’s members care deeply about the experiences that our residents have in our homes. We firmly believe that everyone should have access to convenient, high-quality housing options that meet the needs of their family. NRHC’s members provide high-quality homes for lease in safe, desirable neighborhoods, offering access to good schools and vibrant communities.

In today’s economic environment, a 3% cap on rent increases may not be possible in all circumstances. When Renters Rising responds to our request to reschedule our next meeting, we will plan to discuss this point and hope to engage in a productive dialogue.