Everything You Need To Know About Why Rents Are Going Up

    "In 44 out of the 50 largest metros in the US, median rents actually broke records in June."

    It's no secret that the housing market has been totally wild for buyers this year, but it's getting tougher out there for renters too.

    For rent sign near a row of townhomes

    To get the scoop on why rents are rising right now and what renters can do to protect their wallets, I reached out to Lauren Silbert, VP and general manager of the personal finance site The Balance.

    So, what's driving rent prices up? Silbert says that offices reopening and workers returning to cities are among the factors making rents spike.

    Office workers wearing masks and using glass partitions between their desks

    But a shortage of affordable units and regular seasonal shifts in pricing are also part of the reason why rents are going up.

    Person moving a plant and boxes into their new apartment

    And the end of the eviction moratorium on July 31 could see rent prices going still higher.

    Protesters in Ohio holding signs calling for affordable housing and rent stabilization

    So if you're a renter, what can you do to cope? Silbert suggests looking at either downsizing your space, increasing your income, or even relocating to a less-expensive area, if possible.

    Woman looking at financial paperwork at home

    But wait, what happened to the $45 billion in rental assistance that the federal government earmarked for state and local governments? There are still funds available for renters in need, but Silbert says you likely shouldn't count on getting aid quickly.

    Local politician announcing emergency rental assistance program in Hempstead, New York

    Since rents are rising at a time when so many people are already struggling financially, you might be wondering what protections are in place to keep renters from getting priced out of their homes. Silbert says that you should check your local laws to find out if there are rent regulations in your area.

    Protesters marching for rent control in Chicago

    So what would it take to bring rent prices down and ease this pressure? It all comes down to the need for more affordable housing.

    Workers building new luxury row homes in Chicago

    Nationally, you can send a message to your senators via the National Low Income Housing Commission urging them to pass laws that would create more affordable homes.

    Since housing is so dependent on location, it's also really important to be aware of what's going on near you. Follow or join organizations in your area that advocate for affordable housing, and make calls or send emails to let your state and local representatives know that you want to see action on affordable housing.

    How are rising rents affecting you? Share your experiences in the comments.

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts