Making the rent is stressing out young people in China

Society & Culture

Over the summer, a rental crisis began unfolding in Beijing, as the average payment for an apartment in the city soared 21 percent higher than in 2017. It’s not just the capital: A new survey (in Chinese) of 2,002 people aged 18 to 35 by the China Youth Daily reveals that young people nationwide are having trouble making the rent.

“Renting is a large financial burden” on 82.1 percent of the respondents. More than 20 percent of them said they forked over more than half their income on rent, often leaving them unable to save.

“I spend roughly a quarter of my income on rent,” Chén Péizhēn 陈培真, a 24-year-old barista in Nanjing, told the newspaper. “Because we spend too much on rent, young people like me, who are fresh out of college, are unable to make investments that will benefit us in the long term.”

The survey also discovered that the three major rental-related problems that vex young people are: unreasonable rent increases by housing agents and landlords; the difficulty of getting timely and high-quality maintenance work done; and fake and fraudulent rental information on the internet.

“I once encountered an agent who initially promised not to charge any fees, but when I was about to sign the lease, he found various excuses to increase the rent,” Ruǎn Jūn 阮筠, a migrant in Beijing, said, adding that her rent took up more than half of her income, even though she shared the apartment with a friend. “After I settled down in the place, the agent or the landlord was never responsible.”

In the hopes of relieving the rental burdens on their shoulders, 93.3 percent of the respondents said that they expected the government to make affordable housing more accessible to young people. Meanwhile, 57.9 percent of them wanted the government to establish rental platforms that are more reliable and inexpensive.