Renters Getting Kicked by Housing Crisis, Too

Let’s recall what this really means: we are bailing the banks out while average Americans suffer the consequences of a corrupt financial system. We get kicked out of our homes, lose deposits, have to find new places to live, but also must pay the bill to cover banking losses. It stinks, but is a natural result of capitalism.

Richard Jehn / The Rag Blog

Renters can’t escape housing foreclosure crisis
By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY

On a chilly night after work last November, Christopher and Jenell Chow relaxed, watching the evening news while their children scampered around their rented two-story stucco home. Someone knocked at the door.

An officer was standing on the doorstep, eviction papers in hand. That’s when the Chows learned that the North Las Vegas home they’d rented for two years was in default. They had 30 days to move out and find a new home for their five children, Jenell’s live-in mother, their two black Labs and a cat. The stress was severe: Jenell says she suffered a miscarriage the day before they moved out.

“We felt dumbfounded,” says Jenell, a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband, an electrician, lost their $5,000 rental deposit. “We would have been homeless if someone from our church hadn’t loaned us money for a deposit on another place. I believe the stress caused my miscarriage.”

The most brutal real estate slump in decades is reverberating through the rental market. Renters in properties that are being foreclosed on are being evicted. Homeowners forced into foreclosure are becoming tenants again and driving up rents. And renters not yet ready to buy a home — shut out by stricter lending rules or hoping to buy after prices fall still further — are creating a dynamic shift: Even as real estate is sputtering, the rental market is surging.

Rents, in fact, are accelerating in many markets across the USA. Vacancy rates are down from last year, and average rent is projected to rise 5.3% in 2008, up from a 3.1% increase in 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors. In some cities, rents are climbing at a double-digit clip.

In San Francisco, the median rent rose 14.6%, to $1,810 a month in the first quarter this year compared with a year earlier, according to an analysis by Newton, Mass.-based Investment Instruments. The median rent in Seattle rose 10.3%, to $1,211, in the same period. In Washington, D.C., the median rent rose nearly 5%, to $1,687.

Read the rest here. / USA Today

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