Rental Costs Are Rising 3 Times as Fast as Last Year

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Talk about bad news for tenants across the country.

Key points

  • October rent prices for single-family homes rose 10.9% in October on an annual basis.
  • That's three times as much annual growth compared to last October.

These days, life seems to be getting increasingly expensive. Inflation has made it so groceries, gas, and everyday goods cost more. And many Americans -- particularly those living paycheck to paycheck without money in savings -- are struggling to keep up.

Compounding the problem is soaring rent prices. In October, single-family home rents rose 10.9% compared to the previous year, as per a new report from CoreLogic. In fact, that pace represents three times the annual growth recorded for single-family rents in October 2020.

Vacancy rates for single-family rentals are also sitting at a 25-year low. Now you'd think that wouldn't be the case, with prices so high. But let's remember that when rent increases happen on a national level, it leaves tenants with no place to go. Renters who are struggling to keep up with their increased costs can't just simply pack their bags and move to cheaper homes.

If you're having a hard time keeping up with your rent costs, here are a few steps worth taking.

1. Barter with your landlord

If your rent has recently been hiked up, you could try appealing to your landlord and asking for a break. But that tactic may not work.

Let's remember that many landlords took a financial hit during the pandemic when eviction bans were put into place. Even if you paid your rent on time every month, your landlord may have other properties where tenants didn't pay.

But while your landlord may not be so quick to slash your rent, one tactic that could work is bartering. If you offer to do some maintenance or administrative work in exchange for a rent reduction, your landlord may agree to that arrangement, making it easier for you to afford your home.

2. Get a roommate

There are plenty of benefits to living solo. But if money is tight and your rent has gone up, you may want to consider sharing your living space, at least on a temporary basis.

Of course, this idea may not work if you're renting a studio or one-bedroom home. But if you have a spare bedroom, this setup may be feasible.

Keep in mind, though, you may need to get your landlord's permission before allowing someone to move in. And you should definitely ask your landlord if you plan to make changes to your living space that make it more conducive to sharing, like constructing a temporary wall to convert a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom.

3. Try boosting your income with a second job

Your current paycheck may already be maxed out with general living expenses and bills. But if you're able to boost your earnings, you may have an easier time keeping up with rent increases.

These days, there are lots of options for getting a side hustle. You could do data entry from home, pick up evening shifts at a local restaurant that needs extra help, or sign up to walk dogs or babysit. That extra income might not only help you cover your rising rent, but also, build some savings so you have a cushion in the face of other bills that might increase.

Rising rents are putting a strain on a lot of people. Since home prices are so high right now, buying instead of renting may not be an option. If you've faced a rent increase or have one coming up, use these tips to make that situation more manageable. The good news is that rent prices may come down in the next year or so as more housing units become available. But until that happens, it's important to have a game plan.

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