Affording to live: Renters struggle amid pandemic, tight housing market

TWIN FALLS — The Benson family never expected they would face homelessness. The family of four with two Labrador retrievers has applied to 16 rental properties in the past four months, paying more than $750 in application fees.

“It’s caused so much stress on my wife and I, and our kids,” Jevon Benson said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Both Benson and his wife have jobs, rental history and roots in the community. They have been renting their three-bedroom, two-bath home in Jerome for the last year and a half.

In March, they were told their landlord wasn’t going to renew their lease. Although their lease doesn’t expire until September, the landlord attempted to evict them 60 days after the initial notice.

Benson threatened legal action because the lease says it is good for the entire year unless the tenant provides a notice to vacate. His family was able to stay in their home but the September move-out deadline is fast approaching.

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