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Did you know that more than a third of American households are inhabited by renters? For those tenants, navigating the relationship with a landlord can be tricky. But renter's have rights (they vary by state and local jurisdiction). Learn more about general renter's rights, and learn tactics for negotiating lower rent (yes, it's possible!). And be sure to check out the interactive graphic below to see the cost of renting across the U.S. We want to know: How much of your income goes to rent each month?

Audience Development Editor at The Penny Hoarder

Last edited by Will S.
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Thankfully, I purchased just weeks before COVID hit the US and rentals went through the roof. But if I were renting the same place today, it would be 65% of net income NOT including any utilities. At the time, it was 48%. It's crazy. (Now I pay 40%.)

I work in housing and HUD uses the 30-35% estimate for housing (which includes utility allowances!). It's not even close to reality for many people right now. Of course, they go by gross income.

I share the same story as Kelly. We literally closed on our home a month before the pandemic was official for us in Feb 2020. In March we were both offically on lock down in Virginia. Before ending our lease agreement. We were told that if we did not renew by the end of February, we would have to pay $1,100 a month, plus a new charge for gas and water that would be added in the new lease. Needless to say, we are GRATEFUL to have closed so quickly!! Shout out to Prosperity Morgage! Our original rent was $825 a month. The new expense would have killed our saving potential for the house.

Whoever came up with the 30% of monthly income ratio for rent has never evaluated real market value rents versus average real wages. I am not talking expected dream wage but real wages. I live in one of the areas of NY where market value rents are based on property values only and don’t even consider real wages of most people because it is ASSUMED that they can find someone who will pay the outrageous rent—along with the security deposit, last month and brokerage fee. Based on my income, 30% means that my rent should be $900 max—an impossible feat considering that market value rents in my area is $2000. So in my area my rent is over 50% of my monthly income.
Yeah I heard the comments about moving to a lower rental area but to do that requires cost of moving etc and also evaluating if the area is equally suitable for your needs. No sense in moving to save rent and have higher cost in other areas. (Like commute costs and access to other services). I have had my apartment for over 10 years now and I have rent stability ( one benefit of being old) so that cost is not rising as everything else is like utilities. So I will deal with the 40% rental cost and cut cost elsewhere.
Until actual real wages are being used to determine market value rents, there’s always going to be illusions on the percentage. I read somewhere that average wage should be $80000/year but that’s not a reality.

Rent is fairly affordable here in ND where I live but last year my wife and I purchased a home. While I was always told buying is better than renting, I can definitely say being on the buying side that it may not make sense for everyone. Renting gives you a lot more freedom such as mentioned in this post about being able to negotiate your rent (with a mortgage you would have to refinance to lower your monthly cost). When you throw in the cost of utilities and such things start to add up and I now see why it might just make more sense for some people to rent instead of buying.

I'm sorry I know this isn't exactly the topic of this post but I just was thinking of it when I saw the title about the cost of renting.

The number of American households who rent their living space has increased over the past years. The amount spent on rent per household had also become higher over these years. According to experts, this is a long-run trend and will continue in the future. The falling cost of housing is one of the most important trends in the world. As more people move out of poverty and into cities, housing costs more than ever. We've already seen that, but let's dive a little deeper to get a feel for how big the changes are. However, if you want to get a more accurate idea of how much an cost to rent an apartment per month, you need to take into consideration additional costs like maintenance and security deposits.

Last edited by Dahlia06

@Dahlia06 it is absolutely crushing people all across the country. I'm currently involved in an affordable housing push in my city. It's an extremely daunting task. Especially when you consider that the local government here is not even remotely interested in doing the research necessary to improve conditions. I realize our city runs on realestate taxes, but the homes here are starting in the low 300K's. It's unbelievable and the rent is too **** high! I realize cost is relative to areas income across the country. But rent here is 30% more than it was 3 years ago!!

My rent is probably closer to 40% of my income. I live in the Central Florida area. I rent a 2 bedroom apartment, and it increased $100 per month from the year before. I didn't try to negotiate it down. I sold a house last year, and I'm currently using some of those earnings for my monthly bills, which I realize I won't always be able to do. As much as I'd love to buy something right now, the timing isn't right. The market is overvalued and interest rates on a mortgage keep going up. So although I may be paying more right now to rent, I am ok with that.

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