BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Priced out: Could high cost of rent drive up Utah evictions?

Jul 16, 2021, 4:54 PM
renter evictions in Utah rental relief...
Utahns have about a month left to spend federal rent relief money given to the state during the pandemic (Canva)
(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — As KSL reported earlier this week, affording rent on a Utah apartment now requires a full-time worker to earn at least $20.21 per hour, or about five dollars more than the average wage most Utah renters make. Now some advocates worry that will drive up the rate of evictions in Utah. 

Breaking down the cost to rent

In Utah, full-time workers need to earn at least $20.21 per hour, $3,503 monthly or $42,036 annually — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

The average wage of a renter in Utah is $15.66, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Tara Rollins of the Utah Housing Coalition joined Dave & Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio to talk about those numbers. She said the minimum wage to rent a two-bedroom in Salt Lake County today is $23.00/hour.

“And that’s if they can find it,” she said.

Renters comprise 30% of the households in Utah.

More evictions likely in Utah?

Rollins suggests any renter who experience trouble paying their rent due to the pandemic, call 211 for assistance.

She predicted more evictions are on the way in Utah.

“Once we get back, a year from now, we’re going to have a lot of people that have been evicted that won’t be able to obtain housing because  the practice is not to rent to somebody who has an eviction on their record.”

Debbie Dujanovic, host of Dave & Dujanovic, pointed out increasing the number of roommates needed to cover rising rental cost doesn’t make much sense, either.

More renters mean more problems, and the property owner likely won’t allow it, she said.

Read more: Median home sale price in Utah reaches $450K

She suggested for some people, like her adult children, they may need to move out of state to afford rent.

One-bedroom units in Springfield, Mo., rent for just $626 monthly on average, the lowest rate in the nation, according to rent.com.

No. 2 is Fargo, N.D., where a one-bedroom rents for $776/month on average.

No. 3 Tucson, Ariz., ties with Greensboro, N.C., where a one-bedroom unit rents for $837 and $839, respectively.

5. Grand Forks, N.D., $797

6. Mobile, Ala., $983

7. Albuquerque, N.M., $1,025

8. Des Moines, Iowa, $995

9. Bentonville, Ark., $801

10. Omaha, $954

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Priced out: Could high cost of rent drive up Utah evictions?