Rent is on the Rise

For sale signs, depicting the cheaper housing, Friday 19, 2013, after much speculation of expensive housing around the Fresno City College area cheaper housing can be found.

Photo by: Michael Monroy

For sale signs, depicting the cheaper housing, Friday 19, 2013, after much speculation of expensive housing around the Fresno City College area cheaper housing can be found.

Story By: Moises Buitrago, Reporter

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Fresno City College students face rising rents and housing insecurity.

“It’s very difficult finding affordable rental units in town, many apartments are as expensive as rental homes themselves,” said journalism major Noah Correa.

In California, landlords are allowed to raise the rent as much as they please once the old tenant moves out. For example, student A is paying $800 and moves out student B moves into student A’s old apartment but is now paying $950.

Major cities such as San Jose and Oakland use rent control to prevent landlords from raising rent a certain percentage in a given year. However, it is currently in place by a city-by-city basis in California. Proposition 10 was on the voter’s ballot last year, which would have allowed local governments to enact rent control on residential property, it did not pass.

For some student tenants like Correa, college is their first time renting and they struggle to juggle school and rent payments.

A survey was conducted by the Ramage featuring 70 students and found out that 34% of students said they have felt insecure about their housing situation. The survey also found that the average rent for students was $695.

When renting students often face problems out of their own control.

Correa currently pays rent at the Victor Apartments located by Fresno State. According to Correa, vinyl floors were chipped and torn across the entire apartment and mold was across all the baseboards, creating a nauseating odor.

California law requires landlords to notify tenants of any issues when there is mold inside the house or if they believe there is any possibility of mold in the residence (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 26147). When students are faced with these problems the State of California advises that tenants keep a list of all the things the landlord did not maintain.

The average rent in Fresno is much higher than assumed: $1095 to be exact according to the rentjungle.com. Rent in Fresno is up 6.2% from last year according to rentcafe.com.

Rent payments in California are becoming more and more difficult to maintain every year, if a student works 20 hours a week making $12 an hour the student would make $1,040 a month, which is not enough to pay for the average rent in Fresno.

“I think the cost of rent is not proportional with the rate if pay people receive (minimum wage). There’s not enough government funding for housing assistance either,” said FCC student Erica Garcia.

It is no secret that California is in a housing crisis. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition released an annual report calculating that for every 100 households categorized as extremely low income, only 35 affordable rental homes are available a shortage of over 7 million affordable and available homes

“In my opinion it’s a state issue worth being upset over, especially those in urban areas. We need to take a look at the real estate market and analyze how property tax is driving up home values and driving out more families, creating a higher demand for rent,” said Correa.

California is currently working on a petition to enact a statewide rent control led by Assemblymember David Chu, who authored the bill, is currently in the process of gathering signatures for AB 1482, the bill would prevent landlords from increasing rent by more than 7%. The bill would not override counties that already have rent control.

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