The past few years have been a wild ride for renters, thanks to the global pandemic, runaway inflation, and many other factors. Across the country, rent increases are surging. It’s forcing many renters to make tough decisions about where they can afford to live.
If you’re like millions of Americans and you’re facing a looming rent increase, what should you do? Read on to learn some of the factors causing rent increases across the country, and what you can do to preserve your lifestyle and protect your financial future.
Why Are Rents on the Rise?
If you wonder why rents seem to increase year after year, consider this: rent should go up to keep up with rising costs. After all, landlords need to make a living, too. How high rents go depends on several factors, like where you live, the state of the economy, and any upgrades your landlord makes to your dwelling.
Aside from inflation, much of the country is experiencing housing shortages. Building a new home is pricey, and there’s a historically low inventory of affordable apartments with vacancies.
What to Do When Your Rent Increases
No matter why you’re going to be paying more for rent, the increase can greatly impact your overall lifestyle. Here’s how you can prepare for and weather a potential rent increase:
- Research Local Regulations: When you’re faced with an impending rent increase, the first thing you should do is research relevant local rules and regulations. The National Multifamily Housing Council is a great place to start—it offers comprehensive information about rent-control laws by state. Some cities and towns in various states have also enacted their own rent-control laws, so research the law in your area to make sure your increase complies.
- Negotiate: If you’ve been a trustworthy tenant and you’re facing a rent increase, now is a perfect time to remind your landlord what a great tenant you are. Rather than risking potential vacancy, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord. Sometimes, you can lock in lower rent if you agree to a longer lease. It never hurts to ask.
- Ask for Upgrades: If you can afford to stay in your rental unit despite a rent increase, see if the landlord is willing to make it worth your while. Ask about upgrades, services, or utilities they can include in the price of the rent to help you get more value out of your place.
- Take Control of Your Money: Only a portion of your income should be spent on rent, but what are you doing with the rest? If you’re carrying debt or you’re facing setbacks like unexpected income loss or unemployment, there are financial resources that may help. By reaching out to the debt management experts at National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), you can not only create an action plan to tackle debt and stay on track with your financial goals but also find rental relief programs that can help you withstand a rent increase.
Rental Relief Exists—NFCC Can Help You Find It
If you’re facing a rent increase and aren’t sure what to do, NFCC wants you to know that you have options. We specialize in helping distressed renters stay on track with their financial goals, and our non profit counseling services can help connect you with the rental assistance you need. Call us today at 800-388-2227 to learn all about our programs.