The United States has experienced nine weather or climate disasters so far this year that have caused at least $1 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency also reported that above-normal temperatures were in the forecast for most of the country this summer. With extreme weather on the rise, people may be wondering which areas are safer than others to find a new home.
A recent study by ConsumerAffairs on the best states for prospective renters found that Delaware, Rhode Island and Hawaii had the fewest disaster declarations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency since 2017; Texas, Louisiana and Georgia had the most. The data was collected from OpenFEMA Dataset: Disaster Declarations, which compiles FEMA declarations through the years and includes weather and biological disasters and acts of terrorism.
“Especially as rent prices continue to rise, renters are putting more value into feeling secure and protected under their lease,” said Cassidy McCants, deputy editor at ConsumerAffairs.
The study also examined local eviction rates and laws benefiting renters over landlords as metrics of security. Vermont, Delaware and Hawaii topped the list for laws benefiting renters over landlords, with Georgia, West Virginia and Arkansas at the bottom.
While Delaware may attract renters with its dearth of FEMA-declared disasters and better laws for renters, it was among the three states with the highest eviction rates, along with South Carolina and Vermont. The states with the lowest eviction rates were New Mexico, Virginia and Hawaii, according to the study.
For its analysis of laws benefiting renters, ConsumerAffairs used 2018 research from Rentcafe that looked at 10 common aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship by state and the laws that defined it. The research looked at whether tenants were allowed to make repairs and deduct costs from rent, and whether landlords had deadlines to return security deposits.
Ms. McCants commended Hawaii for its tenant protections “despite having one of the most expensive costs of living.”
“From what to do about emergency repairs to how long a landlord has to give you notice before raising the rent or evicting,” she said, “Hawaii is ensuring that renters and tenants have the security they need.”