Monday, October 21, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 17-04-2019 08:00

Cost of living pressures see 35% of BA’s young adults living with parents

Rental prices, utility bills and additional expenses are forcing young adults to bid farewell to their dreams of independent living.

The cost of rental properties in Buenos Aires City is driving dozens of young adults to move back in with their parents, a new study has found.

Thirty-five percent of tenants in the City aged 18 to 30 returned “home” in 2018 because they could not keep up with the rising cost of rent and related expenses, a National Rental Federation (FNI) survey found.

The study reported that more than 60 percent of young adults’ income went to fixed costs associated with their living arrangement.

The country’s Congress is currently debating a Tenants Law at committee level.

CASES

“I started paying 4,500 pesos two years ago. It now costs me 7,900 pesos. I cannot sustain it any longer and next month I have to leave my house and move back in with my parents in Lugano”, said Ana Martínez, 30, who was in the process of selling her furniture before vacating her rental property in Floresta. The young woman said that “with a salary of 15,000 pesos, I cannot afford fixed costs" that high.

“The bills are huge. I got a water bill for 700 pesos and I wanted to die,” said Martínez, who will soon be sleeping in her childhood bed.

“I am very angry because it took me a lot to become independent and now I’ve got to go back to my parents’, which is a problem because I don’t get along with them and I feel like outsider there,” added Martínez, who is a Public Relations graduate and sells children’s toys.

There are also cases of young people who arrived in Buenos Aires with the hope of taking up a university course but were forced to return to their home provinces as a result of cost of living pressures.

Ana Russo, 28, is one of them. She arrived from El Calafate, Santa Cruz province to study Communication. However, she “had to give it all up” because the quarterly price increases on her rent of 15 percent.

“I lived with my siblings for eight years but last year I rented out my own one-bedroom apartment in Belgrano”, Russo said.

“I feel frustrated”, she added. Russo will terminate her rental agreement just before the start of its second year, costing her 15,000 pesos in fines.

“The anticipated termination of rental agreements reflects the crisis we face in the area of housing in Buenos Aires City,” said Gervasio Muñoz, president of FNI.

“When a contracted is renewed, rent rises 39 percent and there is another increase of 17 percent previously stipulated, which they (the prospective tenant) cannot reject because otherwise they are kicked out,” Muñoz added.

“Nobody is receiving wage increases of those same percentage points,” he charged.

FNI’s study involved 4,200 participants of all ages who detailed their experience renting in Buenos Aires City. It found that on average 47 percent of residents’ income went to rent alone, a six-percentage point increase from 2017.

For young adults, that percentage was more pronounced at 55 percent on average, the same amount as for people over the age of 56, FNI found.

ABUSES

Another issue for tenants in Buenos Aires is the excessive fees real estate agents are charging.

It is common knowledge that many firms continue charging a commission when tenants enter a property, despite a law passed two years ago in the City Legislature determining that the owner must pay that commission.

Muñoz said that FNI receives five complaints every month about this practice.

“CB Properties in Paternal charged my 8,500 pesos in commission, one month’s rent, and another 6,000 pesos in contractual fees”, said Simón Chela, 30, who lodged a complaint with FNI against the real estate agent.

The owner of CB Properties, Francisca Elsa Cichello, denies the accusations.

Another irregularity is that several of the 7,000 registered real-estate agencies in the City demand a security bond through the same company, as well as a Buenos Aires City property guarantee.

Daniel Lipovetsky, the lawmaker who developed the Tenant Law, explains that there is “no regulation about guarantees but if the real estate agency charges two, then it’s abusive”.

This article was originally published in Spanish on Perfil.com

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Santiago Carrillo

Santiago Carrillo

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