June 20, 2024

Ohio attempts to relieve rent and mortgage burden

“I am proud to sign this budget, and while it makes historic investments in Ohioans across their lives, I believe we are doing more to support and encourage Ohio’s children to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives than ever before,” said Governor DeWine.

Photo via Governor DeWine Communications

University students are struggling with year-by-year rent increases. The average monthly rent in 2024 in Columbus, OH is $1,456. Around Bexley, OH, rent has increased by $550 since 2023, making average monthly rent $1,800

8.8% of Ohioans are rent and mortgage burdened, meaning they spend at least half of their income on housing. Increasing rent correlates to homelessness by foreclosures and evictions. 

Fixed rent is determined on 0.8-1.1% of a home’s market value, comparable rental rates, adjusted inflation, rent control and even rent stabilization deemed by township

The average U.S. employee works 34.1 hours per week. Therefore the average employee makes $1,425.38 per month.

House flipping for most homes around Bexley, OH, are a factor in increased rental rates. Photo by Megan Martinez

Rent in Columbus, OH is $574 less than the national median, yet minimum wage in Columbus, OH is “$10.45 per hour for non-tipped employees and $5.25 per hour for tipped employees.

According to an email from Human Resources of the university to undergraduate students, student employees working under federal work studies “are not intended…to provide enough money to live on…due to the nature of work, hours worked, rate of pay and benefit eligibility.” Students employees working under campus employment receive minimum wage and are “limited to 19 hours per week, as students who are employed full-time are half as likely to graduate.” 

While capped at $50 million from its original $100 million, the two housing programs signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine into the Fiscal Year 2024-2025 State Budget are officially active.

According to the Ohio Finance Housing Agency (OHFA), the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program provides affordable housing programs such as housing choice vouchers, income-based apartments, low-income housing and affordable housing subsidized and regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

To qualify for the program, renters must “earn less than 50% of the median income for their area,” or for those with slightly higher incomes, affordable housing is an option “that costs no more than 30% of a household’s income.”

The Single-Family Housing Tax Credit aims to “develop or substantially rehabilitate housing in Ohio,” by selling dwellings at affordable prices which “must remain affordable for 10 years after the initial sale.” OHFA is accepting project applications until Apr. 5, 2024.

Tax Credit indicates a maximum of $50,000 per dwelling based on “the difference between the total estimated development cost and appraised market value of all dwellings in the project application.”

University students must decide between living on or off campus. Living on-campus is convenient in terms of location yet, the cost of tuition is automatically increased.

The university offers apartments and houses as options for housing selections. CU Apartments, Capital Commons, Sheridan Ave. and College Ave. housing bills $9,034 per year to the room and board section of tuition. 

Living off-campus throws young adults into the real world. They have to face the realities of the housing market, get lucky to find a particular home and generate enough money to even afford it.

“Finding an apartment, especially in downtown Columbus, was very surprising to me,” sophomore David Bui said. “I saw rates going from $800-$1,300 a month for two people, especially considering the security deposit that has to be put down and that some places don’t account for utilities in the listed rent price. I found it infeasible that two college students could afford that without having some left over for groceries, gas, car payments and more.”

In the media, young adults are often ridiculed for living with their parents into their twenties, yet the reality of housing prices and rental rates have softened the narrative. If able, moving back in with parents is the most affordable option.

Senior Tori Kittrell said, “I’ll be living at home because rent is so expensive, so I’m trying to save money,” Kittrell is excited to be saving on rent and food expenses by enjoying her parents’ cooking. 

While Kittrell’s current rent is $352 for a two bedroom in Bexley, OH, she and her roommate have to endure distasteful experiences in the area. Kittrell has been harassed when coming home late from work and at a local laundromat. Her car was even broken into. 

When leases are renewed, landlords and leasing offices increase rent to adjust for inflation so they can match increased market value and demand on housing.

Senior Peyton Welford’s rent is $990 split between her and her roommate. Welford said, “[our landlord is] trying to raise our rent by another $100 for next year.” She currently lives around Ohio State University’s south campus area: “It was the cheapest place that we could find.” 

Welford has to keep renting since she’s not able to afford any of the buying process nor a house itself. She said with the help of her boyfriend, “the only way we’re probably going to end up affording a house especially with the housing market [prices] is because he’s in the Air National Guard.” The military has fixed assistance and benefits in exchange for service, but this solution is not feasible for everyone. 

Young adults can only dream of owning a house in the future. In the present with increased rent, market prices and numerous other bills, it’s not possible to afford the application fees, down payments nor mortgage loans that go into home ownership.

Author

  • Megan Martinez

    Megan is a second-year Political Science, History, and Spanish major. She is the President of Students Latinx of Affinities, the Humanities Representatives in Student Government, a Smooth Transitions mentor and a member of the Capital University Dance Team. In her free time, she loves to watch movies.

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