There has been an ongoing conversation both in the headlines and on social media about how high rent is right now.
For example, Florida gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried recently wrote on her Twitter: “Affordable housing. Property insurance. Rent that is too damn high. We deserve a leader focused on issues that impact us, rather than a clown fighting with Mickey Mouse.”
It’s not just our imagination. Everyone is feeling the squeeze, but Zillow just confirmed that Black people are the most affected by the increased costs in the rental market.
Although the median rental application fee is about $50–the cost can quickly cause significant financial discomfort if renters need to apply for several different rental units at once during a home search. The report pointed out that Black and Brown people are more likely to rent, and they are paying a higher median application fee than white renters, on top of usually needing to apply to more rentals. They also highlighted that the typical white renter said they pay $50, while a Black renter paid $65, and a Latinx renter paid $80.
Security deposit disparity was a significant touchpoint as well. About 9 in 10 renters paid a security deposit last year, with the typical deposit being around $700. The report’s findings showed that a higher share of renters of color paid a deposit (93%) than white renters (85%), and the median amount paid by renters of color was higher, too — $750, compared to $600.
“Rents grew more last year than any year on record, forcing many renters to look for a more affordable option. About 2 in 5 renters who moved in the past year said a rent hike influenced their decision to move,” said Manny Garcia, population scientist at Zillow. “Renters typically do not have much of a financial cushion, and the cost of finding a new place to live can be an expensive burden. Regrettably, renters of color are especially likely to experience rising rents, and when they shop for a new rental, generally report higher upfront costs, restricting the mobility that is often held up as a benefit of renting.”