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Coral Gables Woman Hit With 106% Rent Increase After Property Sold To New Landlord: 'I Couldn't Believe It'

CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Price hikes take a real toll on renters throughout South Florida. In Coral Gables, one woman is left scrambling to find somewhere to live after her new landlord raised her rent by more than 100%.

Sara Espinoza has lived at her current home for 22 years. She resides on the top floor, and it's a three-bedroom and two-bath, filled with family photos and memories.

"We never owned it, but it feels like home," said Espinoza.

She never dreamt of leaving on LeJeune Road in Coral Gables. But last month, on March 24, a letter from her new landlord changed everything.

"It was a big sticker shock," added Espinoza. "I couldn't believe it. When I saw the letter, I couldn't believe it."

Espinoza's rent jumped from $1,700 to $3,500 under the new landlords – a 106% increase.

Her salary working for the state cannot cover the increase.

"It's adding another layer of stress that I don't need, especially at this period in my life," exclaimed Espinoza. "Nobody needs that kind of stress. It came as just a shock."

In an email exchange on April 3, the new landlord provided terms to extend the lease to give her more time to move.

It read, "I sent it. If you don't sign it, it is not my problem."

Espinoza was too concerned to sign, having never met or spoken with the new landlord outside of email exchanges.

Now, she has to move out by May 7.

In my conversation with Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia, he points to the economic climate of rising property values and taxes in the area, pricing people like Espinoza out of homes.

"One cost on top of the other one," said Garcia. "That's what they create. The main problem we have to face is the salaries don't go along with the value of properties in Miami-Dade County."

Espinoza needs to stay local, needing public transportation for work.

The two-unit duplex Espinoza rents sold for $1 million on March 15.

And with the high price tag, higher rent. And rates across Coral Gables are sky-high. Ninety-four percent of renting options are over $2,000.

She hopes state lawmakers act before it's too late.

"Going to be many of us in this situation," said Espinoza. "And I think it's unfortunate."

No help is on the way. She does not qualify for the Emergency Rental Assistant Program in the county. For individuals, like Espinoza, you need to make less than $50,650.

Espinoza now only has weeks to find a new place before she's evicted.

CBS4 did reach out to the new owner of the property. They have not returned our request for comment.

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