Jesse Nephew, a senior at the University of California Los Angeles, said another student had been sleeping outside his Westwood apartment building in a sleeping bag because he was homeless.
And Nephew believes he knew the reason behind the student’s housing status.
“The rent goes up every year,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
A new study by listing service Rent-Cafe found the average rent in the city of Los Angeles has ballooned to more then $2,500 per month — a 65% spike since 2010.
But in Westwood, home to UCLA, the average rent is nearly double that — approaching $5,000 per month.
“It is a one-bedroom apartment that I share with one other person,” Gabby Sones, a Westwood renter, said. “And we both pay a little bit more than $1,000, so it’s like $2,000 rent.”
The skyrocketing rent has led to a sweeping rent-control law that will take effect in California on Jan. 1. The law caps year rate increases at 5% plus inflation.
But UCLA students, like Nephew, said the rent cap comes a little too late. Nephew remained in Westwood for the holidays, instead of going home to Northern California to see his family, because he needed to work enough hours in order to pay his bills.
“All I can think of is I’m here for a reason, I’m here for a purpose,” Nephew said. “But there’s always that fear in the back of my head, even after college, will I be homeless?”
For now, Nephew continues to worry about laying a foundation for his future as the cost of living continues to climb.