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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 Simons
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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.

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