I would like to start this post with a reminder that I am well aware that my problems are petty and insignificant in comparison with what millions of other people are facing. Please know that I know that I am ridiculous, dramatic, and unable to cope with anything in general. My problems are picayune in the grand scheme of things, but that has never stopped me from complaining.
I cannot believe how hard it is to find a place to live as two people in their thirties with good jobs, good credit, and a long history of being good tenants. It is UNREAL.
We have been deeply peeved at our current apartment situation since they began construction last summer. I still have holes in my wall, we have intermittent hot water, and the exterior of our apartment is not finished. And I understand that the apartment managers are probably deeply frustrated with the situation, but they are unnecessarily rude and unhelpful. I just want hot water to wash my dishes so we do not die from some deadly bacteria OKAY.
While our lease does not end until April 30, Sari and I started looking for places to move in February because we were willing to pay whatever it would take to secure the right spot. California in general is facing a housing crisis because it is a deeply unaffordable state for most people, but with an influx of Bay Area refugees (who face their own ridiculous costs of living), Sacramento is losing it’s affordability rapidly.
Part of the issue is that a significant number of government-subsidized housing units are being converted to market-rate housing (mostly really really swanky condos). On top of that, most places will not rent to people who meet the criteria for subsidies, so there is already a strong ongoing bias against low-income renters. We also are experiencing ongoing increases of homelessness due to a lack of affordable living spaces. It is just so deeply shitty to the most vulnerable people in our city.
Most of the places Sari and I looked at required a 750 credit score, thousands of dollars in deposits, monthly income that is 3-4 times the rent, and they do not accept co-signers. On top of that, several places required that you have a minimum savings of $6,000 to $10,000. All of this for a shitty 900 square foot house that looks like it’s been rotting in a field since the Great Depression that is $2500 a month with no appliances and a long commute to work.
I am aware that plenty of people pay way more for much less in other cities, but I do not live in those places, so please do not point out that it is much more expensive elsewhere – I already know.
How do college students find a place to live? I had NONE of those requirements until I was almost 30. I have shared before about the struggles our students face with finding housing in Sacramento, and if it is this hard for two adults with good jobs, then how does a 20 year old ever find a place to live??? It has been so frustrating and gross, and there just are not a lot of options here.
I was deeply frustrated and ready to extend our lease into the summer because this is my busiest time of year and I do not want to spend the time or energy on moving right now. It was all TOO MUCH.
Luckily, the last house I agreed to see before throwing in the towel was perfect. The landlord is lovely, the deposit is reasonable, the rent is within our budget, the house has all of the appliances, it is close to work, and it is larger than our current place but not huge. I could have cried I was so relieved. So now, I just need to hurry and pack so we can move in a few weeks. Most importantly, there are TWO bathrooms!
All of this is to say, I do not understand how people who are in school, underemployed, or not making a livable wage find a place to live in this city. Even the crap places were not accessible to anyone without lots of money. It is just so deeply shitty. I know that owners want to protect their property and ensure that the people renting are able to pay, but it is so deeply unfair.
I am deeply grateful that we have the financial stability to find a nice and safe place to live and that we get benefits of the privilege of “looking” like “good tenants,” but this system is so messed up.