HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - "This is the longest I've ever lived in one place in my life," Robert Morris says through tears as he talks about the Huntington b=Beach apartment he's called home for nearly 21 years.
The 68 year old says it's full of memories - especially of his wife, who died four years ago.
"I enjoy the independence I have here, but it's kind of, I"m in a no win situation right at the moment," Morris said.
His situation is a nearly $700 increase in his monthly rent. He says others at Huntington Manor also received the notice.
The rent hike, however, is in line with increases all over the Southland.
Data from Axiometrics shows average monthly rent in Orange County is now at $2,059.
In Los Angeles County, the average rent has skyrocketed to $2,271 and in the Inland Empire, $1,501.
"You know the people with the higher incomes might be displacing people with lower incomes," said Dr. Steven Gjerstad, a professor at Chapman's Argyros School of Business and Economics.
His research shows the rising rent is the result of an improving economy.
"There are more workers with more money and they're looking to live closer to where they work," Gjerstad said.
Gjerstad said more apartments are finally being built, but that may not be enough to push prices down.
"It'll be some time before those are on the market and, you know, if job growth continues and income growth continues, it may not catch up," Gjerstad said.
For Morris, the steep rent increase has forced him to look for a full time job at 68 or find a new place to live.
"I just can't understand why," Morris said. "Legally, I know they can do it, but morally I think it's abhorrent."
The property manager and the company that owns the building have not responded to requests for comment.