Knoxville mom gets new apartment after unexpected non-renewal letter

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A woman, who found herself unexpectedly in the market for a new apartment, is no longer searching.

In mid-August, Taylor Dickerson received a letter asking her to renew the lease on the place where she had been living for years. The letter called her a “valued resident” and she wanted to stay. Then just five weeks later, her landlord sent another notice stating she had to go because the apartment was going to be renovated.

The contradictory messages in the letters didn’t make sense to her. Within several days of WATE’s report last week, Dickerson received a call from the area apartment manager for the Florida-based corporate company. She was being invited back.

Dickerson lives with her six-year-old son, Knox, at Tiffany Square Apartments in West Knoxville. There are 200 units in the big complex built in 1974. Taylor has lived in this first-floor apartment for nearly four years. Her grandmother once rented the same apartment for 25 years.

“He was helpful, he didn’t seem to brush me off. He said he was going to talk to management and give me a callback. I was going to give him two days. He called me back less than two hours later. He said there was an apartment available. And I did stress to him that I am so grateful. We haven’t signed anything just yet. We know the apartment number and we’re just excited,” said Dickerson.

She’ll be moving just half a block away and was told no transfer fees will be charged.

“My son is like, I don’t have to leave now. No, you don’t have to leave. To him leaving means we are going to put everything in one box and throw it away. I keep explaining to him everything that is yours is going with you no matter where we go. But now he is like, I get to stay in my home,” said Dickerson.

Available apartments are difficult to find. A recent report from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors shows the apartment occupancy rate is currently at 96.5 percent.

“I’m happy. I am, I am relieved. Especially at this time of year. This is my home, this has been my home for a very long. So I am very relieved. And thankful … thankful,” said Dickerson.

A newly released monthly report released by Apartment List shows that median rents in Knoxville currently stand at $1,187 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,491 for a two-bedroom. Rents in Knoxville are up by 61 percent since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Nationwide, rents have grown by 7.5 percent over the past year compared to the 18.2 percent increase in Knoxville.


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