Homes. Should Everybody Have One?

With the middle class steadily demolishing, the homeless rate in South Florida is quickly rising. “Vanlife” was once a cool TikTok esthetic is now becoming a lot of people’s realities… and not by choice. Many people are taking to living in their cars, vans, campers, and trailers from being unable to make rent. Many will argue that the cost of living has gone up all over America, which is absolutely true. However Covid 19 has had a huge impact on Florida’s housing market and people are still moving to Florida in the masses, specifically people from up North such as New York. With all the extra people in the sunshine state, the housing market prices have been steadily increasing for years to the boom we see now. Many people that are working full times jobs and some that even work for the state are becoming homeless.

Typically when applying for an apartment it is a requirement to make three times the monthly rent. Many people once did make three times the rent and now that landlords are increasing the monthly rates people are making significantly less than three times the rent. It is safe to say that not many Floridian’s pay is being increased to conquer the inflation. Last year I was living in a “quaint” 400-square-foot loft in South Florida that was barely worth what I was paying then. In 2022 the landlord had planned to raise the rent by $600-$900 which was astronomical for that tiny space so I made the decision to move. There was no way I could afford such a jump in rent while not having any type of pay raise, and I know I am not alone in this. Luckily I had the ability to pay first and last and Security and move elsewhere. Not everyone has this option which is forcing people into terrible predicaments. 

Residents in Florida are pleading for rent control and rent caps for the State. However, some “experts” are saying that rent control can actually hurt the economy. They claim that developers will not build in Florida if they have rent control because it fixes their income and they can never make any more profit than the fixed amount. This might hold some factual weight and the revenue that developers will make will still be substantial even with rent control. What landlords are doing now is nothing less than price gouging. Developers, housing website companies, corporations, and even individuals are buying residences in bulk. They are buying 10-20 single-family middle-class homes to then gatekeep and completely jack up the price of the houses. When this happens a few things are actually negatively occurring. Not only are the prices going up making it impossible for people to buy but it is also making the cost of the homes or buildings in that area go up as well. Creating a cycle of mega-inflation that is difficult if not impossible to overcome.

In the wake of the housing, crisis renters are falling victim to poor landlord-ship as well. Florida is notorious for contractors and landlords alike that are simply scammers. There is also little to no protection for renters without obtaining a lawyer even if you have renters insurance. And being that rent has skyrocketed not everyone has the cash to lawyer up when they have been taken advantage of or even when put in an unsafe situation (think bugs, safety hazards, leaks, and poor maintenance). 

Some have gotten creative on how to handle the housing crisis. A couple going viral right now has decided to actually live on cruise ships. The couple is in their 50s and in retirement and they claim to book long cruises around the world back to back allowing them to not need housing, groceries etc. The couple claims it is approximately $100 a night to live this way which totals $2,800 a month. Not such a bad gig in this housing crisis! Although it is realistic and works for them I imagine it could not work for everyone. Either way many are forced to problem solve housing and expenses during this super-inflated time. 

Unfortunately, it is not predicted that the housing crisis will be getting any better anytime soon. On the contrary, it is not expected the housing market will even crash and just continue to get worse. Many cannot just uproot and move to a different state where rent and cost of living are lower. In the long run, this will have a huge impact on people’s quality of life and there will be more and more people unable to find any housing. This also means more Floridians will be relying on government assistance and free services which are already not up to par and barely available. Unfortunately, there is not an easy or quick solution to the housing crisis. People with better resources such as high-paying jobs, and a family home to go home have a great advantage over those who don’t. For now, everyone has to do what they need to to keep a roof over their head.