Rent Too Damn High? L.A.'s Renters Among Most 'Cost-Burdened' in Country

Vacancy Rate For U.S. Apartments Reaches Highest Rate In 20 Years

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Do you spend more than a third of your paycheck on rent? Congratulations, you're among the 58% of Los Angeles and Orange County residents who have been defined by the federal government as 'cost-burdened'. 

According to a new survey from, renters are far more likely to be cost-burdened than homeowners, with only 28.3% of homeowners reporting that they spend more than 30% of their income on rent. 

The term 'cost-burdened' was defined as a way to track how much a family spends on housing, and how much is left over for non-discretionary spending (bills, food, groceries, cell phone bill). According to the survey, about 32% of renters in L.A. and Orange County were defined as 'severely cost-burdened.' Those are people who spend more than 50% of their income on rent. 

Most troubling? Nearly one-in-five renters were unable to pay their rent in full over the last three months. 

That's not the only challenge for Southland renters. Not only do they have to be prepared for the high costs of rent and deposits, a new study from Rent Cafe showed that residents in Los Angeles had to have an average credit score of at least 691. 

With the average Millennial's credit score hovering around 650, and low rental inventory available, that's created a perfect storm that's really put the hurt on renters. 

L.A.'s sunshine tax has always been a cost residents have accepted as part of living in Southern California, but, thanks to a nearly 18% increase in rents in Los Angeles and Orange Counties since 2005, the amount of cost-burdened and severely cost-burdened renters has spiked. 

But, look at the bright side - at least you're not living in Miami where 63% of renters find themselves cost-burdened by housing costs. 

By the way, if you're looking for an area with more affordable housing, the place where renters face the least amount of housing costs is located in Ogden, Utah. 

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