Why tenants struggle more in the wake of hurricanes

Why tenants struggle more in the wake of hurricanes

By Siri Chilukuri for Economic Hardship Reporting Project

When hurricanes hit, it’s easy to show the damage: downed power lines, uprooted trees and destroyed houses. But when those things are removed or cleaned up, there is a more insidious damage that still lurks and is hard to portray: a lack of affordable housing.

And that hits renters in the coastal United States especially hard, according to new research from Ohio State University.

The study looks into how affordable rent is in the wake of hurricanes, weather disasters that are becoming more common due to climate change. Researchers found that after a hurricane, the number of rental units usually decreases, which leads to higher rent prices. Some states, like Florida, actually have a moratorium on rent increases after disasters—but it only lasts for a month. Meanwhile, the damages from hurricanes can sometimes take years to repair. Other research backs that up, with one study from 2022 finding that 40% of rental units are in the path of disaster.

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