Rent costs shoot up again: 6 steps on how to cut costs

Rent costs shoot up again: 6 steps on how to cut costs
Photo credit: DepositPhotos

Rent — African Americans face formidable challenges in securing affordable housing rentals. Systemic racial inequalities and discriminatory practices have led to limited access to housing opportunities, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and marginalization.

Discrimination in rental processes and landlord bias often result in restricted options and higher costs. Additionally, socio-economic disparities and historical disadvantages further exacerbate the struggle.

Government efforts to address the issue have been insufficient, requiring comprehensive policy changes to ensure fair housing practices, combat racial discrimination, and provide better access to low-cost rental options. Tackling this complex issue is vital to achieving housing equity and social justice.

Read also: Office-to-apartment conversion sweeps the US in 2023

Lowest-cost housing 

According to a new report by Real Estate Witch, Providence, Rhode Island, is the place that offers the lowest-cost rent for African-Americans.

The research is based on rent-to-income ratios in the 50 largest metropolitan areas from 2021 and beyond. The ratio is equivalent to the percentage of gross monthly income tenants are required to pay rent. It is also recommended that RTIs don’t exceed 30% or less of the gross monthly income.

On average, Providence residents spend $1,066 monthly for rent, which takes up 20.5% of their gross monthly income.

Apart from Providence, the five most affordable rent cities for African-Americans are as follows:

  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Atlanta, Georgia

More spent on rent

According to Jaime Seale, author of the report, African-Americans are spending most of their monthly income on rent due to their tendency to earn lower annual salaries compared with the overall population. For example, the median annual income for white Americans in Miami is $62,870. Meanwhile, African-Americans have an income of $50,897.

Seale explained that the housing shortage in the past decade contributed to demand for homes exceeding supply, leading to home prices rising rapidly.

“High prices combined with rising mortgage rates have priced many would-be buyers out of the market,” she explained in the report.

“That means many more Americans are renting and renting for longer periods of time. That increases demand for rental units and causes those prices to rise as well.”

According to the report, Cincinnati is the most affordable city, boasting an RTI ratio of 15.5%. Meanwhile, Miami sits on the opposite end of the spectrum with an RTI of 28.5%.

The report also revealed that the median US rent price had risen since 1985, going from $378 to $1,163. It deduced that the median US rent would fall to $939 monthly instead of $1,163, 19% less as of 2021.


Jaime Seale offered some tips that could help African-Americans afford housing rent without breaking the bank.

  • Negotiations – Negotiating rent with the landlord can make housing more affordable by potentially reducing the monthly cost. Engaging in open communication allows tenants to express their financial constraints or circumstances, giving the landlord a better understanding of their situation. This could lead to a rent reduction, flexible payment plans, or other concessions that align with the tenant’s needs. Successful negotiations may also enable the landlord to retain a reliable, responsible tenant, saving costs on potential vacancies and turnover. By fostering a fair and understanding relationship, both parties can find mutually beneficial solutions, making housing more attainable for tenants.
  • Sign a longer lease agreement – A longer lease can make rent more affordable by providing stability and predictability for both the tenant and the landlord. With a longer commitment, landlords may be willing to offer reduced monthly rent as an incentive to secure a reliable, long-term tenant. This arrangement allows tenants to lock in a lower rental rate, shielding them from potential rent hikes that might occur with shorter leases. Moreover, tenants can save on moving costs and avoid frequent market rate fluctuations. For landlords, longer leases decrease the risk of vacancies and turnover expenses. Overall, extended leases foster affordability through mutual benefits and stability.
  • Wait out the winter market – Renting housing during winters can be more affordable compared to summers due to seasonal fluctuations in demand. Many people prefer moving during the summer months, creating higher competition for available rentals and driving prices up. In contrast, during the winter, rental demand typically decreases, leading landlords to offer lower rents and attractive incentives to attract tenants. Additionally, some regions experience a surplus of vacant rental properties during colder months, providing renters with more negotiating power and the chance to secure better deals. Renting in winter can thus offer cost savings and more favorable rental terms.
  • Referrals – Referring friends to a rental property can lessen rent through referral programs offered by landlords. When current tenants recommend prospective renters, the landlord may reward them with rent discounts or incentives as a token of appreciation. By bringing in new tenants, landlords can reduce the cost of advertising and potentially secure reliable occupants. This win-win situation allows tenants to enjoy reduced rent, while landlords benefit from a more efficient and cost-effective way of finding tenants. Referral programs promote community-building among tenants and contribute to the overall affordability of housing for those who participate.
  • Relocate/downgrade to a smaller unit – Relocating or downsizing to a smaller unit or a different neighborhood can significantly lower rent. Larger properties or popular areas often come with higher rental costs due to increased demand. By opting for a smaller unit or moving to a less trendy neighborhood, tenants can find more affordable options. Smaller units generally have lower rental rates, reducing expenses. Moving to less sought-after neighborhoods can also result in decreased rent prices. While this decision may involve trade-offs, such as commuting distances or space constraints, it can lead to substantial cost savings, making housing more affordable for budget-conscious individuals.
  • Get a roommate – Having a roommate can significantly reduce rent expenses by splitting the cost of the rental property. When two or more individuals share the same living space, they can divide the monthly rent and utilities, making it more affordable for each person. Sharing the financial burden enables renters to access larger or better-located properties that might have been beyond their individual budgets. Additionally, expenses such as internet, electricity, and groceries can be shared, further lowering living costs. While having a roommate may require compromise and communication, the cost-saving benefits make it an attractive option for many seeking affordable housing solutions.

Photo credit: DepositPhotos