1 in 3 Bay Area renters have less than $1000 saved

Nearly a third of Bay Area renters are one financial emergency away from missing a rent payment — and potentially getting slapped with an eviction notice, according to a recent survey.

Twenty-nine percent of renters in the San Francisco metro area don’t have enough money saved to cover an unexpected expense of $1,000 or more, according to new data from real estate website Zillow.

The small-sample survey provides further evidence that as Bay Area rents swell, tenants are struggling to pay, leaving them with little or no savings. One mishap — such as a broken-down car or surprise medical bill — is enough to cause many tenants to miss their rent payments and risk losing their homes.

Zillow surveyed 216 renters in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties as part of a nation-wide survey of 4,323 renters.

“Folks do not have savings. There’s no cushion,” said Amy Price, program manager of the Eviction Defense Collaborative’s Rental Assistance Disbursement Component, which provides loans and grants to low and middle-income tenants in San Francisco who fall behind on their rent.

Price blames the region’s high housing costs, which she says have overshot tenants’ salaries. The median price to rent a studio apartment in San Francisco is nearly $2,900, according to Zillow. In San Jose, it’s almost $2,500, and in Oakland it’s nearly $1,900.

One of Price’s clients recently had a stroke, leaving him unable to work and his family unable to make the $3,400 rent payment that’s due Oct. 15.

“A lot of our clients are walking a tightrope,” Price said.

Zane Burton, 64, of Oakland, is one of those Bay Area renters who feels as if one small misstep could send him plunging from that tightrope. Burton, a mental health worker for the city of San Francisco, just had his car serviced and is not sure he can afford both the mechanic’s bill and his $1,225 rent payment.

“Right now I’m trying to do some odd jobs or something of that nature to really make ends meet,” Burton said.

It’s even worse in the rest of the country. Nationwide, 48 percent of renters said they could not cover an unexpected expense of $1,000.

“A lot of people aren’t in a financial position to be able to afford unexpected expenses,” said Sarah Mikhitarian, a senior economist with Zillow.

And rising rents are pushing tenants from their homes. In the San Francisco metro area, 56 percent of renters who moved in the last year blamed a rent increase.

The Zillow figures aren’t the first to illustrate the massive rent burden crushing many tenants.

Workers in core Bay Area counties would need to earn four or more times the minimum wage to afford a Bay Area apartment, according to a 2018 report by the nonprofit California Housing Partnership. Meanwhile, the lowest-income renters in Alameda, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties spend more than half their income on rent.


Article source: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/10/04/1-in-3-bay-area-renters-have-less-than-1000-saved/

This entry was posted in SF Bay Area News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.