A post on Craigslist highlighted some of the housing barriers renters face when house-hunting. It is a scathing criticism of the state of access to public housing.
The United States has been experiencing a long-running housing crisis. Landlords have placed unreasonable barriers to rent, including terribly high deposit amounts and too-strict regulations. The pandemic has only worsened the situation. In light of this, one angry renter took to Craigslist in order to rant. Calling out terrible landlords, they wrote a post about their experiences with renting in Prescott, Arizona (an area well-known as a college town). The renter, a single parent of an only child, described some of the challenges they faced when house hunting for an apartment in the area. Their rant is only one example of why our country needs radical housing reform.
Their post was addressed "to all landlords." They wrote, "I am a single parent who works extremely hard to provide for my child. F*ck each and every one of you b*stards. You make it nearly impossible to get a rental for a decent price. I am sorry that my divorce lowered my credit score. I am sorry that my 10 pound dog is such an inconvenience that you cannot rent to me even though I carry renter's insurance at my own cost." These were only some of the challenges they faced, all a result of an oppressive housing system that allows only the wealthiest access to safe and stable housing.
"I am sorry I do not make three times the monthly rent amount," they continued, referring to an archaic principle that recommends saving three times your monthly rent in order to remain financially secure. "If I did, do you think I would try to rent your sh*tty *ss apartment in a craptastic neighborhood? I sincerely hope that each and every one of you falls from grace now that the students are likely NOT COMING BACK. Enjoy your lack of student income. Maybe you will finally get off your f*cking high horses and rent to the thousands of DECENT hardworking locals who need affordable housing." Prescott, Arizona, is home to several colleges, including Prescott College, Yavapai College, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Therefore, landlords rely on upperclassmen for income during the academic year.
Finally, the renter ended their rent with a strong affirmation: "THIS IS NOT THE BAY AREA. YOUR SH*TTY *SS HOUSE IS NOT WORTH WHAT YOU THINK IT IS." The Craiglist user is not alone. Across the country, thousands of renters face barriers to affordable housing, for many of the reasons they have listed. In addition to this, renters may be asked to pay for their own repairs, disclose their employment and criminal history, and provide references from former landlords or roommates. All of these housing barriers impact those already most marginalized, such as single parents with a single, minimum-wage income (particularly mothers), people of color, and folks from the LGBTQ+ community. In order to radically transform the status quo and ensure everyone has access to safe and stable housing, policymakers must develop a system of checks and balances for landlords and extend public housing programs.