Your Rent Is Expensive AF, Another Study Just Confirmed. Here’s How to Deal

rent deadline written in journal
Marco_Piunti/Getty Images

For too many Americans, rent is still too high. So high that writing the rent check can cause panic on a monthly basis.

According to Apartment List’s annual survey of more than 41,000 renters, 18% of tenants couldn’t pay all or some of their rent within the past three months. For low-income renters — those who make less than $30,000 per year — 27.5% reported they didn’t pay their rent in full at least once in the past three months.

Apartment List’s data showed that 3.3% of renters surveyed have been evicted in the past, and 2.4% were evicted from their last residence. While those rates seem small, they indicate a larger problem.

With approximately 118 million renters in the U.S. today, Apartment List estimates that 3.7 million Americans have been evicted at some point.

Apartment List housing economist Chris Salviati, the report’s author, noted: “If we assume that some share [of] respondents fail to report informal evictions, this estimate is most likely understated.”

Salviati wrote that the eviction process can be expensive, “making it difficult for the evicted to get back on their feet, and having an eviction record can make it extremely difficult to find future housing.”

Previous Apartment List research found that rent prices have risen faster than wages. And although coastal areas tend to have higher rents, they also have stronger job markets and higher median wages that offset the rent, Salviati explained. That income reduces the rates of eviction in those areas; in addition, the rental markets in those coastal metropolitan areas are so competitive that people who struggle to pay rent would have a hard time initially obtaining an apartment in those areas.

Apartment List also points out that eviction rates are particularly high in the areas that were most profoundly affected by the foreclosure crisis almost a decade ago. We often talk of a recovering economy, but housing access in some of those hardest-hit areas is still a major obstacle.

How to Deal When the Rent is Too $#&! High

If you feel strapped for cash with the first of the month looming, check out this list of ways to make a few bucks in a flash.

Not sure where to turn for more help paying rent? Dial 211. It’s United Way’s hotline that provides information about rental assistance and other housing programs. The hotline is free and confidential.

If you need something to make the next few months easier, think about getting a roommate. Roommates can come with their own idiosyncrasies, and sharing your personal space isn’t necessarily fun, but if it can help you — and another person — get ahead financially, it may be worth the sacrifice.

And you can always commiserate with other renters. Really, the rent is too high for most of us these days.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.