<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
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The economy is a little better; time to pay more rent!

A 'For Rent' sign stands in front of a house on May 31, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
A 'For Rent' sign stands in front of a house on May 31, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Housing prices are down, mortgage holders are underwater, construction is slow – this is the standard set of facts when it comes to reporting on housing in the United States post-2008.

What isn’t talked about as often is the flip side: the fact that national average rents are up. Even in the best of economies, there are risks to buying: you’re responsible for the maintenance, and if the value on your house goes down – as it has for many in the last few years – you eat the losses. Plus, as the nation’s population goes up and both credit and jobs remain difficult to obtain, more of that population is finding itself unable to finance starting their own households, and thus stuck either living with family or renting.

Meanwhile, fewer apartment complexes are being built and vacancy rates for rental properties are the lowest they’ve been since the 1990s. According to a recent article in Slate, the United States is facing a “perfect storm” when it comes to resources versus demand in the rental market, with costs threatening to keep on rising.


Have you had difficulty renting here in Los Angeles? If you recently relocated, how long did it take you to find an apartment? Does rent control help or hurt in this situation?


Larry Gross, executive director, The Coalition for Economic Survival

Ryan Minniear, executive director, California Apartment Association of Los Angeles