Unless you’re living in a cave—which, we hear, is a great way to save on rent—you know that election season is in full swing. Are you going to vote, and perhaps more importantly, are you registered to vote? If you feel ambivalent on either of these points, consider these housing-related reasons to get out there on November 6th:
You’re probably underrepresented
Homeowners vote more than tenants. According to MSN Real Estate, if renters turned out in the same numbers as homeowners, we’d have another 11.2 million people showing up to the polls. When tenants don’t vote, their voices aren’t as well represented at any level of government, and their particular issues and needs are less likely to get attention. Plus, in my opinion, if you don’t vote, you’re not allowed to complain about politics.
Your local representatives determine the regulations your landlord must follow
If you think politics don’t matter, think again. The rules of apartment renting, from habitability standards to eviction proceedings, were set by government officials—many of them elected. Need a stark example? Your votes could be the difference between you paying for building damage out of pocket, or your landlord having to take care of it.
National elections have a huge impact on housing
Local races can affect your day-to-day life, national ones even more so. For example, though there’s disagreement on which government policies caused the housing bubble, there’s no doubt that the government policies can affect homeownership, rental and foreclosure rates.
…And on other stuff that determines how much you have left to spend on housing
Perhaps you just want to rent your apartment, go about your business, and leave the politics to the politicians. But…how much are you spending on credit card interest this month? Are you on food stamps, or might you need to be in the future? Where do you get your health care? Does your job pay minimum wage? What is your tax rate? For better or worse, the federal government has a hand in each of these issues, and all of them can affect how much money you have left over for rent. Leaving the politics to the politicians means turning over your interests to whomever some other guy elects to office.
Take care of yourself! Register to vote, if there’s still time in your state! GET OUT THERE TODAY, AND MAKE SURE RENTERS’ VOICES ARE HEARD!