Amidst the increasingly high rental economy, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling provides San Francisco renters with ways to reduce the burden.
Boston, MA – January 21, 2015
As a nation still recovering from an economic recession, the affordable housing situation in the United States, especially in San Francisco, has become a serious matter. According to new data from the American Community Survey, over 42 million households in America were renter households. One-third of them, or 14 million households, paid more than 40 percent of their income for rent, also known as being rent-burdened. In San Francisco, monthly rental costs in 2014 rose by 11 percent to $1,600, the highest amount on record.
To help households avoid becoming rent burdened, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has provided advice for dealing with housing rentals and being smarter about the utilities and costs that come with them.
“Our country is currently facing an affordable housing crisis, with more and more families struggling to keep up with increasing costs. That is especially the case in San Francisco,” said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “While renters cannot control the economy’s effect on the housing market, they can control how much they spend on other rent-related aspects of their budget as a means of trying to ease the burden they’re faced with in terms of rent cost.”
ACCC has shared some ways to control costs and mitigate the impact of being rent-burdened:
- When you’re in the market for an apartment, stay firm on what your budget is. Don’t compromise before you’ve looked at multiple apartment-finding services. Spend time on a variety of apartment listing websites and communicate with various landlords and owners, as well as tenants.
- When talking to your landlord, try to negotiate payment plans based on your feasible budget. Try to put more money down at the beginning of your lease, and then pay a discounted payment monthly. Or, if you are willing to sign a longer lease, you might be able to bring down your monthly cost. If your landlord won’t lower your monthly cost, try to negotiate the cost of utilities and rent inclusion.
- Create a budget designated specifically for the household. A budget isn’t just about knowing what you’ve spent money on; it helps you figure out ways to spend less and how to save on what you’re spending. With the high price of rent alone, it’s important to save money anywhere you can.
If you can’t control how much money you spend on rent, you can control how much money you spend on groceries. Invest in wholesale club memberships, use coupons, shop sale items, and cook in bulk.
- Get a roommate. If you have an extra bedroom, see if you know any friends or, better yet, couples looking to save money. Utilize websites like Craigslist, or network through social media. Utility expenses are much more manageable when splitting them with multiple people.
- Be aware of your energy usage. Turn off unnecessary lights, the heat down when no one is home, and your utility costs should be more than manageable. For electricity, use fluorescent lighting instead of incandescent bulbs. For cooling, use a fan over an air conditioner and close your windows in the daytime to keep out direct sunlight and open them at nighttime for a breeze. To keep warm in the winter, winterize your windows by sealing them with plastic. You can also minimize how much water you use by not running it for very long before taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loans, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.