LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Right now, rental home costs are rising across the valley.

Chances are, you know someone whose rent jumped — in some cases, people are seeing a more than 20% jump. Renting a home used to be much cheaper than it is now. But experts say thanks to more demand and COVID-era policies, many renters feel locked out of this option.

“It’s scary. It’s really scary times,” said Mia Browning, who lives in Summerlin.

Browning is worried. She lives a rental home in Summerlin and says costs are getting crazy.

“I was shocked,” Browning said. “I couldn’t believe the difference in price. I used to pay $1,300 for a 2,000 square foot home rental. Now, I’m paying $2,200.”

Now, between rent, utilities, and groceries, it is becoming hard to make ends meet.

“Everything is on a budget,” Browning said.

According to CoreLogic, the Las Vegas metro area had the second-highest year-over-year increase in single-family rent prices in the country this June, at 12.9%. Real estate expert Andrew Leavitt, CEO of PIF Lending, says there are a couple of reasons why.

“We had a huge rush from a lot of the surrounding states. It’s not just California. It’s Oregon, it’s Washington. They all also came down here,” Leavitt said.

More demand means a jump in price. Leavitt also says mortgage forbearance options and eviction moratoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic are playing a role.

“The rental costs had to go up to cover those costs,” Leavitt said.

Some people say their Las Vegas landlords have even increased rent during a lease, but Leavitt says that is allowed if it is in your agreement. In fact, Clark County and the State of Nevada have no limits on how high rent can be raised.

“You signed off on it,” Leavitt said. “There’s not really a law that’s going to stop anyone from doing that.”

To avoid all this, Leavitt’s advice is to buy if you can.

“In a mortgage, you have a thirty-year agreement. The payment is not going to change,” Leavitt said.

That is something browning plans to do.

“I’m hoping to buy as soon as possible,” Browning said.

Hundreds of 8 News Now viewers have commented on our Facebook page about the rising rental costs. If your landlord increases your rent and that option is not in your lease agreement, you should seek legal help. One option is the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. You can call them at (702) 386-1070.