The High and Getting Higher Cost of Renting in the US

Yves here. The seemingly relentless rise of housing costs, and with them, the cost of renting, has become close to a dog-bites-man story. However, as this article underscores, the true cost of renting has grown due to all sorts of “gotcha” fees in the search and leasing process.

This barrier to renting produces more homelessness. I have trouble believing the official statistics that claim only a bit over 500,000 are homeless in the US. And this isn’t just a problem of big blue cities. Alabama has pricey rentals relative to local wages. For instance, a two bedroom apartment in an so-so neighborhood safety-wise and a bad building (structurally unsound, literally slowly sliding down a hill, big cracks in walls) is $1400 a month.

By Rebecca Gordon. Originally published at TomDispatch

In 1937, the American folklorist Alan Lomax invited Louisiana folksinger Huddie Ledbetter (better known as Lead Belly) to record some of his songs for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Lead Belly and his wife Martha searched in vain for a place to spend a few nights nearby. But they were Black and no hotel would give them shelter, nor would any Black landlord let them in, because they were accompanied by Lomax, who was white. A white friend of Lomax’s finally agreed to put them up, although his landlord screamed abuse at him and threatened to call the police.

In response to this encounter with D.C.’s Jim Crow laws, Lead Belly wrote a song, “The Bourgeois Blues,” recounting his and Martha’s humiliation and warning Blacks to avoid the capital if they were looking for a place to live. The chorus goes,

“Lord, in a bourgeois town
It’s a bourgeois town
I got the bourgeois blues
Gonna spread the news all around”

And one verse adds,

“I want to tell all the colored people to listen to me
Don’t ever try to get a home in Washington, D.C.
‘Cause it’s a bourgeois town”

Such affronts, Lead Belly sang, occurred in the “home of the brave, land of the free,” where he didn’t want “to be mistreated by no bourgeoisie.”

There are music scholars who believe that Lead Belly didn’t really understand what “bourgeois” meant. They claim Lomax, later accused of being a Communist “fellow traveler,” provided him with that addition to his vocabulary and he simply understood it as a synonym for “racist.” Personally, I think that, in a few deft verses, Lead Belly managed to show how racism and class stratification merged to make it all but impossible to find a home in Washington, as in so many other places in America.

Still a Bourgeois Town

In the late 1970s, after a period of unemployment, my mother got a job for a year in Washington. We’d lived there while I was growing up, but she hadn’t been back for almost a decade. She was a white middle-class professional and it was still hell finding an affordable place to rent. (She’d been without a job for more than a year.) It would be some time before credit ratings would be formalized, thanks to the financial corporation FICO, producing a model of a standardized credit score for anyone. But her prospective landlords had other ways of checking on her creditworthiness. That she was a divorced woman with no rental history and no recent jobs didn’t make things easy.

Still, she had her sense of humor. One day during that search, she mailed me an old 45 rpm recording of Lead Belly’s “Bourgeois Blues.” It seemed to perfectly catch her frustrated efforts to escape a friend’s guest room before she wore out her welcome.

I was reminded of that record recently when I read about the travails of Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a new Democratic congressman from Orlando, Florida. Born in 1996, he’s the youngest member of the House of Representatives. He quit his full-time job to campaign for Congress, supporting himself by driving an Uber. When he tried to find a home in Washington, his application for a studio apartment was rejected because of a bad credit score. As Frost tweeted:

“Just applied to an apartment in DC where I told the guy that my credit was really bad. He said I’d be fine. Got denied, lost the apartment, and the application fee.

This ain’t meant for people who don’t already have money.”

Nor, as Lead Belly might have added, for people like Frost who are Black.

Washington, D.C., it seems, remains a “bourgeois” town.

The True Costs of Renting

Suppose you want to rent a place to live. What will you need to have put aside just to move in? This depends not only on the monthly rent, but on other fees and upfront payments in the place where you plan to live. And, of course, your credit score.

Application fee: One part of Frost’s story caught my attention: he had to forfeit his “application fee” for an apartment he didn’t get. If, like me, you haven’t rented a house or apartment in a while you might not even know about such fees. They’re meant to cover the cost of a background check on the applicant. You might expect them to be rolled into the rent, but in a seller’s (or renter’s) market, there’s no risk to landlords in making them extra.

Frost’s fee was $50 for one application. (These fees tend to top out around $75.) Not so bad, right? Until you grasp that many potential renters find themselves filing multiple applications — 10 isn’t unheard of — simply to find one place to rent, so you’re potentially talking about hundreds of dollars in fees. California, my own state, is among the few that regulate application fees. The maximum rises to match inflation. In December 2022, that max was $59.67. Some states set a lower maximum, and some don’t regulate the fees at all.

Move-in fees: If you haven’t rented in a while, this one may take you by surprise. Unlike a security deposit, move-in fees are nonrefundable. They’re supposed to cover the costs of preparing a place for a new tenant — everything from installing new locks to replacing appliances and painting. Once subsumed in the monthly rent, today these costs are often passed on directly to renters. Nationally, they average between 30% and 50% of a month’s rent.

In June 2022, the median rent for an apartment in the United States crossed the $2,000 threshold for the first time, which means the median move-in fee now ranges from $600 to $1,000.

First and last months’ rent: This upfront cost should be familiar to anyone who’s ever rented. Landlords almost always require two months’ rent upfront and hold on to the last month’s rent to ensure that a tenant can’t skip out without paying. Because landlords can invest the money they’re holding (and tenants can’t invest what they’ve forked over to landlords), in recent years, most states have required landlords to pay interest on the tenant’s funds.

Security deposit: Unlike the move-in fee, a security deposit — often a month’s rent — is refundable if tenants leave a place in good condition. Its ostensible purpose: to reimburse the landlord for future cleaning and repair costs that exceed normal wear-and-tear. (But wait! Isn’t that what the non-refundable move-in fee should do?)

Other fees: If you’re renting a condo, you may have to cover the owner’s monthly Home Owner Association fees. In some cases, you’ll also pay for a utility’s hookup like gas or electricity.

So, how much will you have to pay to set foot in that apartment? Well, if you’re like Nuala Bishari, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who recently tried to rent a house in nearby Oakland, California, you’ll need to set aside almost $10,000. If you’re not sure how you could possibly put that kind of money together, the credit score company Experian has some advice for you:

First, “calculate your odds.” Find out how many other people are applying for the unit you’re interested in and, if the competition is stiff, “consider looking elsewhere.” (As if you haven’t done that already!)

Then tighten your belt. “Reducing extraneous expenses,” it observes, “is an easy way to save.” Stop going out to eat, for instance, and look for free family activities. If that’s not enough, it’s time to “get serious about cost cutting.” Their brilliant suggestions include:

  • “Cut back on utility use. [Wait! I thought I was supposed to cook more at home. Never mind. I’ll just sit here in the dark.]
  • Carpool to work instead of driving. [I take the bus, but maybe I should start walking.]
  • Switch to a budget grocery store and look for coupons and sales. [Right! No more Whole Paycheck for me!]
  • Join a buy-nothing group.”

Such “advice” to people desperate to find housing would be amusing if it weren’t so desperately insulting.

Rent Is Unaffordable for More Than Half the Country

Suppose you’ve managed to get together your up-front costs. What can you expect to pay each month? The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development considers housing affordable when rent takes no more than 30% of an individual’s or family’s monthly income. Human Rights Watch (!) reported in December 2022 that the Census Bureau’s 2021 Annual Community Survey revealed a little over half of all renters are spending more than 30% of their income that way — and in many cases, significantly more.

It tells you something that Human Rights Watch is concerned about housing costs in this country. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) put its data in perspective through what it calls a  “Housing Wage”: the hourly rate you’d need to make working 40 hours a week to afford to rent a place in a specific area. For many Americans, housing, they report, is simply “out of reach.”

“In 2022, a full-time worker needs to earn an hourly wage of $25.82 on average to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home in the U.S. This Housing Wage for a two-bedroom home is $18.57 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In 11 states and the District of Columbia, the two-bedroom Housing Wage is more than $25.00 per hour. A full-time worker needs to earn an hourly wage of $21.25 on average in order to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home in the U.S.”

Unfortunately, many people don’t earn $21.25 an hour, which is why they hold two or three jobs, or add Uber or Door Dash shifts to their other work. It’s hardest for minimum wage workers. As the NLIHC observes, “In no state can a person working full-time at the prevailing federal, state, or county minimum wage afford a two-bedroom apartment at the [fair market rate].” Furthermore, “in only 274 counties out of more than 3,000 nationwide can a full-time worker earning the minimum wage afford a one-bedroom rental home at the [fair market rate].”

For people living at or below the poverty line, the situation is even direr, which is why so many end up unhoused, whether by couch-surfing among friends and family or pitching a tent on the street.

In the coming months, the situation is only expected to worsen now that pandemic-era eviction moratoriums and the $46.5 billion federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program are expiring. According to the Pew Research Center, those programs prevented more than a million people from being evicted.

It Wasn’t Always This Way

People have always experienced poverty, but in the United States, the poor have not always gone without housing. Yes, they lived in tenements or, if they were men down on their luck, in single-room occupancy hotels. And yes, the conditions were often horrible, but at least they spent their nights indoors.

Indeed, the routine presence of significant populations of the urban unhoused on this country’s city streets goes back only about four decades. When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982, there was a community of about 400 people living in or near People’s Park in Berkeley. Known as the Berkeley Beggars, they were considered a complete oddity, a hangover of burnt-out hippies from the 1960s.

During President Ronald Reagan’s administration, however, a number of factors combined to create a semi-permanent class of the unhoused in this country: high interest rates implemented by the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight drove up the cost of mortgages; a corruption scandal destroyed many savings and loan institutions from which middle-income people had long secured home mortgages; labor unions came under sustained attack, even by the federal government; and real wages (adjusted for inflation) plateaued.

Declaring that government was the problem, not the solution, Reagan began a four-decade-long Republican quest to dismantle the New Deal social-safety net implemented under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and supplemented under President Lyndon Johnson. Reagan savaged poverty-reduction programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid, while throwing more than 300,000 people with disabilities off Social Security. Democrat Bill Clinton followed up, joining with Republicans to weaken Aid to Families with Dependent Children (“welfare”).

A decade earlier, scandal-ridden state asylums for the mentally ill began to be shut down all over the country. In the late 1960s, Reagan had led that effort in California when he was governor. While hundreds of thousands were freed from a form of incarceration, they also instantly lost their housing. (On a personal note, this is why, in 1990, my mother found herself living in unsupervised subsidized housing for a population of frail elderly and recently de-institutionalized people with mental illnesses. This wasn’t a good combination.)

By the turn of the century, a permanent cohort of people without housing had come to seem a natural part of American life.

And It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This Forever

There is no single solution to the growing problem of unaffordable housing, but with political will and organizing action at the local, state, and federal levels it could be dealt with. In addition to the obvious — building more housing — here are a few modest suggestions:

At the state and local level:

  • Raise minimum wages to reflect the prevailing cost of living.
  • Remove zoning restrictions on the construction of multifamily buildings.
  • Pass rent-control ordinances, so rents rise no faster than the consumer price index.
  • Pass limits on up-front rental and move-in fees.
  • Pass legislation to prevent no-cause evictions.
  • Pass legislation, as California has already done, to allow renters to report their on-time rent payments to credit bureaus, allowing them to boost their credit scores without borrowing money.

At the federal level:

  • Raise the federal minimum wage, which, even in this era of inflation, has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.
  • Increase funding for SNAP, the present food-stamp program (whose pandemic-era increases have just expired).
  • Increase federal funding for public housing.
  • Provide universal healthcare, ideally in the form of Medicare for all.
  • Increase “Section 8” housing subsidies for low-income renters.
  • Raise taxes on the wealthy to fund such changes.
  • Finally, shift part — say one-third — of the bloated “defense” budget (up $80 billion from last year to $858 billion in 2023) to programs that actually contribute to national security — the daily financial security of the people who live in this nation.

Then maybe the next time we send new people to Congress, all of them will be able to find a home in Washington, D.C.

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  1. square coats

    Looking for an apartment in the Boston area (not in Boston proper) about half a year ago, we discovered that people are now making offers above the asking rent (which even feels wrong as a series of words following one another).

    1. Linda Elkins

      It’s been a war against the poor since good Ole Ronnie Reagan Days. Steal from or stick it to the poor and give it ALL to the rich!!! Nothing will change until a LARGE group of peoples rise up and make enough trouble and noise that the few actually pay attention to them. We have no lobbyists for us, just our own voices. And it’s high time we used them.

    2. Mikel

      I couldn’t see myself participating in any type bidding war without researching background (from more than one source) on other bidders.

    3. lab_rat

      Not to mention that almost all rentals now ask for first and last months’ rent, a security deposit (= one month’s rent), and a broker fee (= one month’s rent; it is hard to find any landlord in the Boston area that does NOT work with a broker). So, you have to pay an amount that is equivalent to 4 months’ rent when signing the lease. And the mayor is pushing a rent control proposal that would cap rent hike by 10%… Even this is getting a lot of challenge from the landlords.

    4. Jason Boxman

      Not to mention Boston was, at one point, perhaps one of the few places in the country where the fee for renting through any agent (the overwhelming amount of inventory not in a tower) was an entire month’s rent. I got lucky and found a sublease, but holy s**t that’s a big fee otherwise. Other states I rented it was $100-$250 fee, but only at apartment complexes.

  2. Noone from Nowheresville

    I have been helping an elderly friend try to find housing in multiple rural areas in two different states.

    Waiting lists for low income elderly housing and no real rental openings available for non-low income. Lots of AirBnBs which if one rents for an entire month might be okay as a temporary stopgap.

    I am rather shocked. When I was looking about seven years ago in similar areas there were multiple options in multiple rural towns. Now either the listings are to be found in other places I don’t know about or property owners have moved to temporary listings catering to tourists. When I talked to a local board member about AirBnBs, he seemed unconcerned because a local person was able to make some money.

  3. Lexx

    ‘A decade earlier, scandal-ridden state asylums for the mentally ill began to be shut down all over the country. In the late 1960s, Reagan had led that effort in California when he was governor. While hundreds of thousands were freed from a form of incarceration, they also instantly lost their housing.’

    Scandal, what is hidden from the public and then revealed, has a lot of political uses, doesn’t it? ‘But we have to tell the press, the public needs to know!’ ‘No, let’s just keep this under our hats until we can make best use of the information.’

    On those rare occasions when I’m downtown and see someone on the street who appears to be homeless arguing aloud with themselves… maybe they’re not schizophrenic, they’re just minimum wage workers really pissed about the latest hike in their rent.

  4. Amateur Socialist

    Here in Brattleboro VT voters just turned down a ballot measure limiting no-cause evictions by 2:1. It got my vote not because I was deeply familiar with the details, but more because of the people in town I noticed opposing it.

    I expect this will come up again; the anecdata around here regarding abusive no-cause eviction is pretty easy to find. Housing has always been tough to find here, the geography limits the amount of developable land. Scarcity without meaningful regulation means the abuse will continue.

  5. sinbad66

    During the pandemic, my wife was working for one of those “rental assistance” programs. She was shocked to find out that a lot of these people were paying north of $1000/month to basically live in an apartment in the hood (in a small city in SE WI). She also saw that a lot of landlords were using the pandemic to “get rid of the riff-raff” and get rid of their Section 8 recipients. With the rental market as it is, they felt it was better to eat their losses and get rid of these people than jump through the hoops that these programs required.

    1. Old Ghost

      re: Section 8” housing subsidies for low-income renters.

      Why would a landlord want to get rid of section 8 renters? Well, maybe if they were causing trouble.

      Otherwise, Section 8 is probably the most reliable monthly check Landlords can collect. And where I live, Wisconsin, there is no rent control. So the landlord can raise the rent whenever they feel like it. I see Section 8 as another subsidy to the .01%, like the tax breaks only the wealthy can take advantage of (electric cars, solar heating, etc),

      What really is needed is something local gov’ts haven’t done since about 1970, and start building low cost housing. Landlords need some low cost competition.

  6. Stephen

    I think the solutions that the article postulates to increase supply such as easing zoning restrictions are likely to be most helpful in addressing this specific issue.

    Not against raising wages for low paid workers. But doing that without raising supply will likely just mean that more dollars chase the same number of dwellings and enable existing landlords to extract more rent / capitalised selling prices and banks to earn more interest when new landlords buy the dwellings at a higher price.

    Have never fully understood the drivers of high rent / property costs in the US outside of specific capacity constrained locations such as Manhattan. In the U.K. we have a major problem with this partly driven by less land but also by very onerous development controls. Have never associated that with the US on a large scale beyond specific cities. So it is eye opening to read such an article.

    I wonder too if more active provision of social housing might be an answer. My father grew up in a London County Council owned property (which was quite advanced for its era) and in the glory days of late nineteenth / early twentieth century slum clearance and so forth such bodies were very actively rehousing the poor. It was almost the normal working class mode of being housed. Not sure if that ever applied in the US but it might be a better use of tax money than weapons and bank deposit bail outs that are definitely not bail outs, of course!

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Yep. Increased supply is the answer. When there is a lot of supply, landlords who set rates too high risk having their units stay empty. If that happens, they end up stuck paying utility bills, taxes, insurance, and possibly mortgage interest while having no rental income to cover it.

      But in my area, at least, supply is tight, and bidding wars are frequent. So it works out just like you describe: “more dollars chase the same number of dwellings“. Wealthier people win the bidding wars, and poorer people get left out in the cold.

      Rebecca Gordon really wants to blame Reagan (mentioning him four times), but she neglects to mention the (frequently liberal) NIMBY activists who block new housing projects. Heck, just in the past five years I’ve seen two apartment complexes effectively cancelled by activists who wore their environmentalist credentials quite proudly.

      1. Notario

        People who are for open borders are the renter’s enemy. An old lady we’ve known for years thought after twenty years on a waiting list she was going to get one of the new low income subsidized studio apartments in our town.

        She was bumped in favor of a recently arrived Guatemalan women with a child, who was more deserving. Got “equity”?

    2. Cat Burglar

      How can investing in providing more supply of housing pay, if the low level of wages means a low level of effective demand? If other investments provide a higher return, development just will not happen. Land-use controls and single family zoning are indeed constraints on supply, but keeping housing costs high is in the interests of developers and landlords. Policy needs to “pick winners” via regulation, tax policy, and wage policy to make it happen.

    3. PuntaPete

      Limit demand. Sharply reduce legal and illegal immigration. Allowing upwards of 1 million new residents each years is not only an invitation to skyrocketing rents but is environmentally unsustainable. Think of the decline of water in the southwest, the increasing sea levels along the coasts, agricultural aquifers going dry. Also, the downward pressure on working class wages brought on by mass immigration makes it even more problematic for wage workers to afford housing.

      Aside: I know there are studies that show that immigration is an engine of growth but the kind of “groaf” initiated by immigration is not based on technology innovation and rising productivity but instead requires consuming more and more resources.

  7. Matthew

    That’s strange, here in NYC I have never encountered a move in fee after several apartment transitions.

  8. Objective Ace

    Pass rent-control ordinances, so rents rise no faster than the consumer price index.

    This is a great way to ensure new rental housing stock isnt built and the existing stock is poorly maintained forcing tenants to live in squalor

    I also think the move-in costs are over emphasized here. Sure, move in fees exist and I suppose in some instance the renter is required to pay an HOA fee, but how common are these really? The non-refundable application fees always struck me unfair, but if your working with a single management company you only need to pay this fee once. The rest of the fees–security deposit and first & last months rents–while maybe not always that way were at least that way in the 1990s when I was searching for appartments (and seem reasonable to me)

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a real problem, but I think it is mostly stemming from the stagnant wages over the past decades. Which means the fixes to those areas will have an outsized effect

  9. Carolinian

    Thanks for posting on this very much in need of coverage subject. However one factor not mentioned is that in the 1950s the country had half has many people chasing the same amount of land if not buildings. I believe this has been cited as a big reason houses are considered an always–long term–appreciating asset. Of course this may not matter if the buildings on said land change to accomodate the increase but in areas like mine that hasn’t happened. The rental industry is obsessed with occupancy rates and how that will affect their profits.

    Therefore one can suggest that housing, like medicine, is an area where pure capitalism doesn’t work. The left sweeps the issue under the rug while obsessing over pronouns while the right blames the poor for being poor and does the same. We have become a bourgeois country, in the worst sense.

  10. eg

    Henry George could have told you that absent a democratic government determined not to allow the landlord class to write the country’s laws for its own benefit, rents will rise to seize all of labour’s income above subsistence — at best.

    America is run by and for propertarians and rentiers — until that changes, the rent will remain too damned high!

    1. Notario

      Thousands of young Latino men lined up on the curbs of American cities willing to work their ass off for $12-15 an hour.

      Why should anyone pay $20 to keyboard jockeys?

  11. Kurtismayfield

    No more commercial/industrial/any business building without an equal number of units for workers to live in. That is my solution.

  12. Cat Burglar

    Property managers in the toxic Bend Oregon rental market almost require you to submit your SAT scores to get a place. And you may not get your damage deposit back when you move.

    After moving out of her rental cottage in Bend, a friend had the pleasure of reading a letter from her manager informing her the deposit would be taken because dark marks (“perhaps from burning candles”) high on the pitched 15-foot ceiling required a new paint job. She’d noticed dark patches from the poor paint job when she moved in.

    After looking into Oregon law, she asked the manager for the invoices for the repainting, and the photo evidence. Too bad the painter’s invoice was dated a month before she moved out! She hired a lawyer — the property manager warned that judges give great weight to the testimony of skilled craft workers in such cases — and got her deposit, the penalty due to her, and her legal expenses paid. I imagine the boss property manager is actually going to read the next few deposit seizure letters before she initials them.

    So you can have a good experience in a bad rental market sometimes.

  13. scott s.

    Of course property tax has nothing to do with affordability. To please voters owner/occupants get breaks while rentals get the full burden. Then you add the trend to have to get an annual license from the local political unit. Not sure what the value-added is to the tenant. Then in my state there’s also the 4.7% excise (sales) tax on rents.

    As far as DC, sure it was southern/segregated but U street / Shaw back before WWII was a pretty active/vibrant place.

  14. Jeremy Grimm

    I would count the following among factors leading to the high cost of housing in the u.s.:
    — A house in the u.s. is not a home, it’s an investment. Federal monetary policies have repeatedly pushed up housing prices. Many of the Federal ‘Urban Renewal’ programs of the past tore down lower cost housing to build up-scale housing and glitzy commercial development driving out the poor [Domhoff, G. W. (1978). Who really rules? New Haven and community power re-examined. ]The current efforts by private equity — well-funded by Fed policies — to take over public housing even the once ignored single-family residential housing previously left to small private investors has already produced some unhappy results.
    — The u.s. transportation systems increase demand for housing in certain areas based on proximity to jobs and services such as one of the rare public transportation systems, or public roadways that are maintained and not yet clogged by over-building of the areas the roads serve.The presence of or lack of bus service in the region where I live makes a big difference in rents and their availability. Many of the poor cannot afford cars.
    — The local property tax systems for supporting school systems puts a premium on housing located in the ‘right’ school district. I still grow angry thinking about how much time, diesel, and traffic congestion was wasted by the school busing resulting from Brown vs the Board of Education. Instead of busing, I believe better solutions would have been to support local schools with Federal funding to assure that all schools would provide the same level of high quality education to all people in this country. Subsequent to and as a consequence of the ruling on the Brown vs Board of Education Case the red-lining that helped create the situation, the Federal Government should have aggressively dismantled red-lining. [Together neither of these changes to our past would have adequately redressed the problems of discrimination that continue to plague and weaken our Nation. At least we might have avoided some of the costs and stupidity of the Busing ‘solution’. Far too little was done and has been done, and is done to better tie us together as single people. For Centuries the u.s. Elite has adhered to policies of divide and conquer.
    — The horrible instability of jobs in the u.s. pushes many people into renting who might have purchased a residence, driving up rents, often up past the ability of the less well-paid to reasonably afford them.

    My comment is already longer than I like. Unfortunately, the few bullets regarding this issue that I have rough-sketched in my comment are far far from exhaustive.

  15. Heraclitus

    Scott S. is right. The local government gets their cut, which is often a large one, and several multiples of what owner occupants pay. For me, this translates into 20% to 25% of rents.

    When I was a child alternative forms of housing were available. There were boarding houses–which I suspect were regulated out of existence–and tenant houses, which often didn’t have running water or modern heat, though sources of water were often nearby. The adoption of zoning codes did away with all that. In retrospect, watching the many homeless roam the streets in our very wealthy county, I wonder if the advent of zoning was a bad thing.

  16. timotheus

    Another important action not listed: prohibit or heavily tax the landlord practice of keeping apartments vacant to artificially boost rents. New York has an untold number being warehoused empty while thousands desperately seeking shelter.

  17. Simon

    The good news is that our eternal immigration policy guarantees cheaper housing in the future. One of the immigrants will figure out how to put infinitely more people on finite land – for less.

  18. Charl Smith

    The increasing cost of renting in the US, as outlined in the article, is certainly concerning. With already close to 500,000 homeless individuals in the country, the potential for that number to grow is troubling. It’s important to recognize the impact that rising housing costs can have on people’s lives and access to stable housing. For those looking to be more informed on the topic, I would recommend checking out the articles provided at, educating oneself on the issue is an important step in finding solutions. Despite the challenges, it’s important to remain optimistic and hopeful for positive change. By coming together as a community and advocating for more affordable housing options, we can work towards a future where homelessness is no longer a reality for so many individuals. Let’s strive towards creating a more equitable and just society for all.

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