City streets

This is a guest contribution from our friends at ABODO

Everyone deserves to love the place they live. But more so than homeowners, who can renovate and improve their homes over time, renters are left to the whims of the market. Renters can have only the amenities being offered by local property managers, and their hands are tied when it comes to maintenance — they can put in their requests, but it’s up to the property manager to deliver.

A recent study by ABODO explored where in the US renters are most and least satisfied, in terms of monthly payment, general condition and maintenance, pest problems, and neighborhood quality. Where oh where are renters the most satisfied? Raleigh, North Carolina, topped ABODO’s list. Cities with the most dissatisfied renters

On the other end of the spectrum is a host of cities where renters might need to exercise more caution before signing a lease, tour more carefully and read property reviews to uncover potential problems before move-in day.

Ranked by a three-tiered score (out of a possible 300) weighing home satisfaction, neighborhood satisfaction, and affordability, these 10 cities fell to the bottom of ABODO’s ranking.

  1. 65 — Memphis, Tennessee
  2. 76 — Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio
  3. 83 — Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California
  4. 95 — New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York
  5. 97 — Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
  6. 119 — Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania
  7. 121 — Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California
  8. 122 — San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  9. 124 — Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. 128 — New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana

A few cities on this list — including New York and Los Angeles — are no huge surprise, considering the high living expenses and effects of living in crowded conditions. Memphis, however, was dragged to the bottom by its neighborhood score.

The neighborhood satisfaction score combined renter sentiments about crime, school quality, public transportation, and cleanliness of the area. As it turns out, Memphis renters had the most reports of both petty and serious crime, and the second-most reports of vandalized buildings. Looking solely at the neighborhood score, Houston also scored exceptionally poorly, as did Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The home satisfaction score looked at the elements closer to home: reports of roaches and rodents, mold, broken toilets, damaged walls or roofs, leaking water, and broken windows, as well as renters’ own ratings of their living situation. Houston again fell to the bottom of the list, followed closely by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

There is one list, however that Houston topped: most reports of roaches. Nationwide, 17% of households report having seen a roach in the past 12 months. In Houston, that jumps to 43.4%. Roaches seem to love the South: New Orleans (40.7%) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida (33.8%), have the second- and third-most roaches.

In the northeastern states, the pest problem gets hairier: New York renters see the most rodents (20.1%), followed by Philadelphia (18.1%), and Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts (17.6%).

If dealing with pests is at the bottom of your list, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington, might be the place for you. Less than 6% of renters there reported either a roach or a rodent.

For more details on ABODO’s rankings — including where renters love their homes and neighborhoods — read their full report.