Rising rents making it hard for artists to live in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Artists who dream of making it big in Nashville are being forced out due to rent hikes, they say.

Musician Jaclyn Torrento works three jobs to pay the bills.

“So the gig rate is not increasing, whereas the rate in our apartments is increasing, and so you can’t really make up for that, you can try and do more gigs, but there’s only so many gigs you can do in a day,” Torrento said.

Her rent has gone up 30%. She moved to her one-bedroom in Germantown in 2019 and said it’s 712 square feet. Her new lease would be hundreds more a month compared to her first lease, she said.

“We’re playing four-hour gigs on Broadway with no breaks, and you’re working hard to bring all these people to Nashville, to spend their money in Nashville, and then to not get that money back, and to not even be able to afford a place to live here in the city. It’s hard,” Torrento said.

She said in Chicago, rent caps were helpful. However, Tennessee state law would have to change to make that happen.

“It’s disheartening. It brings you down because you know you’re part of the industry that brings tourism here,” Torrento said.

Many of her fellow artists are looking for roommates or moving back to their hometowns.

“And it’s a double-edged sword because you could realistically move outside the city, but with the rise in gas prices, you’re paying one way or another,” Torrento said.

She’s not sure where she’ll go, but she plans to talk to state legislators about her struggles.

“A lot of people I know are considering moving,” Torrento said. “And it’s the heart of Music City. It’s why people move here. It’s for the music.”

In places like Miami, landlords are required to give tenants a 60-day notice if they’re increasing rent by more than 5%. Most landlords in Nashville only give a 30-day notice due to state law, which trumps local municipalities.

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