MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Sacred Pipe Resource Center hosted its third public forum called “Predatory Housing.”

“We are using the term predatory housing, because I really think a lot of housing in the state and across the United States is actually becoming very predatory,” said Cheryl Kary, executive director for Sacred Pipe.

Kary says the housing industry has become more expensive especially due to inflation. She says it’s causing lower-income families to live paycheck to paycheck.

“I come from an era where rental deposits were $150 or $200,” said Kary. “Enough to cover crazy repairs or extra repairs, things like that. Now we have gotten to this month’s rent, last month’s rent, and the deposit.”

The forum gave attendees a chance to ask questions and describe their experiences with landlords. Kary says many people have come to her frustrated and concerned with rental prices in North Dakota.

“Before it was just supposed to be a percentage of your income and now most people are just working to keep a roof over their heads,” said Kary.

Cara DiMare is an attorney representing Dakota Plains, who was there to shed some light on tenants’ and landlords’ rights.

“Now that we are having more renters than ever before, it’s important for tenants to realize that they have rights,” said DiMare. “So, in addition to tenants having rights and landlords having rights when those two work together and when landlords respect tenants’ rights and tenants respect what their landlord wishes then you can have a positive housing experience.”

DiMare says the best time to start looking for help is before you get an eviction notice because there is still time for you to negotiate with your landlord.

Kary believes the first step in trying to ease the pressures of housing finances for low and middle-class families is discussing the problems they are facing through forums like this one.