Real Estate News

With rents soaring, why do eviction rates remain low in Sacramento?

While rents continue to climb in Sacramento, a recent study ranked the city among those with the lowest eviction rates in the country.

Apartment List, an online rental service, used its user data and 41,000 survey responses about evictions to determine Sacramento has an eviction rate of 3 percent, just below the national average of 3.3 percent.

Sacramento stands alongside pricey seaside cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle in the rankings for low eviction rates.

“Despite high costs and fast rent growth in many of (these) metros ... the majority of renters in these markets have high incomes that offset the expense,” the study states, hence the low eviction rate among high- and middle-income families. Additionally, the study says, housing markets in these metro areas are so expensive and competitive that people who struggle to pay their rent would have difficulty in finding an apartment.

For low-income people, however, the eviction rate in Sacramento is 4.4 percent, higher than the average, the study says. Families with children, African Americans and those without a college education are disproportionately affected.

According to Apartment List’s data, 30.1 percent of single-parent households nationwide report difficulty paying rent within the past three months. And married couples with children are not far behind, with 27.2 percent struggling to pay rent.

African Americans are also at high risk with 11.9 percent reporting they have faced an eviction threat in the past year, compared to 5.4 percent of white households and 2.5 percent of Asian households. And people without a college education are twice as likely to be evicted.

Evictions can have long-term effects on person’s ability to find permanent housing again, experts say.

“It’s logged in your credit history, and an eviction on your record makes getting a new place to live very difficult,” said Veronica Beaty, policy director at Sacramento Housing Alliance. “In a hot rental market, it’s competitive and an eviction is a reason for a landlord to eliminate your application.”

For many people, an eviction and the loss of a place to live starts a downward spiral, said Darryl Rutherford, director of the Sacramento Housing Alliance, whose office regularly receives calls from people who have been through an eviction, are homeless and are looking for help.

“They’re evicted and they’re dealing with all of these things. They end up missing a couple of days of work, they lose their job and they have no where to go so they end up living in their car. Their car gets impounded and they end up on the street. That’s a pretty typical story,” he said.

Evictions and unstable housing carry health consequences too, data show. At an Oct. 24 hearing of the Housing and Community Development committee on the effects of renter displacement, Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said there are higher rates of hypertension hospitalizations, asthma and mental health-related emergency department visits among people with unstable housing.

Many people at risk for eviction are spending more than 30 percent of their household income on housing.

“People will suffer in substandard conditions just to maintain a roof over their household,” he said.

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM

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