WESTLAKE, LOS ANGELES - Driven by high demand and a limited supply, average apartment rents in Southern California reached all-time highs in the first quarter of this year, according to a real-estate data firm.
The average apartment rent in Los Angeles County hit around $1,778 a month, up 4 percent from last year, according to commercial real-estate data firm Reis, Inc.
In Orange County, the average rent goes for $1,806 a month, up about 2.6 percent. And in the Inland Empire, people are paying $1,278 a month, up 5.4 percent.
Those figures apply to average apartments from tiny studios to four-bedrooms.
Experts blame high demand and a limited supply of rentals for a spike in rents over the last 22 quarters in a row.
The report came out as renters were able to obtain some legal and moral support Wednesday during the 4th annual Renter's Day L.A.
Many of them say renting in Los Angeles comes with many hurdles, including high cost, sanitary conditions and landlord disputes.
Renters receive legal, moral support at Renter's Day LA
"I'm on a fixed income, and I can't afford to pay the rent. So I am forced or compelled to stay in a room with a toilet and a sink that is infested with cockroaches and bed bugs," said L.A. resident Georgette Sharp, who attended the event.
The Renter's Day Coalition, the group behind the event, hoped to alleviate some of those concerns with the legal clinic, which was held in MacArthur Park. The organization is trying to give renters some legal tools to keep a roof over their heads.
"We felt it was really important on this symbolic day to bring legal resources to the community, especially taking into account the housing crisis," said Steve Diaz with the Los Angeles Community Action Network.
Not everyone at the event had eviction as the top concern. Some were worried about sanitary conditions of their homes, while others felt they were being mistreated by their landlords. Renters face a lot of problems, and they attended the event looking for answers.
"We're providing legal aid for people. When they get a three-day quick notice which you often get on Friday which means they have to be out by Monday, it's not actually legal. It's not true that they have to be out, but many people don't know that," said Roberta Morris, an event organizer.
Morris added that renters also get support and solidarity, in addition to legal assistance.
"Worse comes to worst, we show up to help pack boxes," she said.
With rents rising year after year, L.A.'s poorest are feeling it the most, and many fear if they don't get some relief, the next stop will be on the street.