Renting

Airbnb: Bad For New York, Great For Me

I guess like most things in this new disrupted world of ours, I think Airbnb is bad for New York, but when family is in town and needs a place to stay, that’s exactly where I send them. On her last visit, my mom stayed in a place one block from us for $60/night.

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How A Person With a Five-Figure Income Buys an Apartment in New York City

When The New York Times ran a story in late June on income-restricted housing, I almost didn’t read it. After a six-month apartment search on a New-York-poor budget, I was something of an expert on the ins and outs of different types of buildings. But I had just curled up with a mug of coffee at my parents’ suburban kitchen table, their print Times arrayed before me.

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On Seattle and Small Apartments

That’s my apartment.

The whole thing.

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It’s Heating Season In New York City

I spent all night freezing my ass off and debating whether I should get out of bed to put on a sweatshirt, which means it must be late October in my rented apartment!

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“Freelance Money Isn’t Like Other Money”

This aggrieved response, in Salon, to the NYT magazine piece about Portland — why people move there, what they do then, and how the city is changing — makes some sobering points about how our culture views freelance work and the money that results.

In 2013 my husband had a salaried position and did some freelance work — freelance work he has been doing for the past 10 years — on the side. In 2014 he quit the salaried job to pursue freelance full-time and is making roughly three times what he used to. Had he left that salaried job for another, we’d have no problem. We’d produce his last two pay stubs and even though it was a new job his work history would demonstrate some indelible quality about him and we’d have our mortgage.

But it doesn’t work like that for freelancers. The invoices we send out every month, the checks we deposit, the estimated taxes we’ve already paid — none of it really means anything until we file our tax return. Freelance money, we’ve come to realize, isn’t like other money. At a time in our economy when a salaried worker can lose his job without warning and then be unemployed for months, if not years, he’s still seen as a safer bet than a freelancer. Our money doesn’t count, and neither do our jobs. This is cultural, I understand, and there are countless ways — from healthcare to the tax code — that our culture is set up to favor salaried workers.

No one who reads this site could mistake freelancers for slackers. But it’s true that when Ben and I both jumped off the freelance cliff, we didn’t consider the long-term ramifications in terms of things like mortgages. (Move somewhere significantly cheaper and buy in cash?) Anyone have experience convincing banks to lend to you as something other than a FT employee?

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“Behind Every Jane Jacobs Comes Giuliani with his Nightstick.”

Mueller’s painting with too broad a brush. Not so much a broad brush, even: a flamethrower.

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Reconsidering a Living Situation

I mulled over the fact that I had just dropped off a rent check for an apartment in Manhattan that I hadn’t even lived in for half of the month.

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It’s Utilities, Not Me-tilities

Today I talked to frequent commenter ThatJenn about utilities.

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AirBnb Ruined Our Lives and Turned Us Into Entitled City Dwellers

If you live in New York, you’ve probably seen the subway ads for AirBnb. They display hosts who have made serious money through the tech company—the king of the “sharing economy.” AirBnb has recently won significant legal battle by proving its own legality. It was ruled that AirBnb hosts who live in the apartment or house they are renting out are within the boundaries of the law. Well, that’s us. We’re legal. And yet, if I’m honest with myself, AirBnb has basically ruined my life. And it can ruin yours, too.

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How Bad Does Your Landlord Have to Screw Up to Justify a Month’s Free Rent?

One Sunday evening, my elder child called to me from the shower, with apparent alarm, “Dad! It’s raining in here!” Since this was a ten-year-old and ten-year-olds are prone to goofy, physical humor, I mostly expected to find him in the shower under an umbrella, but lo and behold, the water was not running, he was toweling off, and there was a distinct sound of light rain on a tin roof coming from the bathroom ceiling.

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A Room in an Elderly Stranger’s House, and Other Places I’ve Lived

Besides me, David Sedaris is the only American I know of who spent a big part of his early 20s rooming with an elderly stranger. He describes this time, during which he took up residence in a Chapel Hill boarding house out of some vague, misplaced nostalgia for an erstwhile age, in his 2007 essay “This Old House.” But the four months I spent with C.C. were a little different.

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