Renting

The High Cost of Renting in Los Angeles (and Nationwide)

Southern California Public Radio station 89.3 KPCC is doing a project on the “rent crunch” in Los Angeles.

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Living Situations From Seattle to NYC

Where have you lived Julia Lipscomb?

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The Case of the Missing Padlock

Yesterday morning at 8 a.m. construction started in the apartment across the hall from us — the rent-stabilized one my landlord had successfully evicted an 18-year tenant from the week before, so that his son could move in (remains to be seen). And by construction I mean pulling up floors, knocking out cabinets, and general banging that was so loud and disruptive I couldn’t help but laugh as I complained about it.

A few minutes later I heard my landlord talking in the hall and then banging on our apartment door. At this point Dustin was in the shower and I was in bed eating oatmeal or something, in my pajamas. The night before I found a note he left on our door letting me know I forgot to include the agreed-upon $20 for our monthly gas payment in my rent. Whoops. I had no cash on me so I took down the note and planned to go to the ATM the next day. I’d also read a note he left on our building door saying that SOMEONE had stolen the padlock that he put on the door leading down to the basement. The basement he locks so that no one can go in the backyard. The basement where the circuit breakers are. The basement where we keep a bunch of our belongings because this was always totally acceptable until he put a padlock on the basement and gave the spare key to the elderly lady upstairs, in case we need to, say, escape in a fire or if she needs to let in National Grid to read the gas meters. So I knew he was showing up to either demand $20 or ask us if we knew where the padlock was — neither of which I really felt were worth putting pants and a bra on for. I froze in bed, spoon in midair, but didn’t get up. He banged again and instinctively I shouted, “What?!”

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Places I’ve Lived: A Black Tub, Missed Sunsets, And The Original Airbnb

Where have you lived, Anna Wiener?

2009-2013, Eckford Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, $1000/mo.

This apartment! It felt like a stage set. I loved it desperately and didn’t deserve it at all; how my friend Maya found it is still a mystery to me. It was on the top floor of a small, three-story building; everything, including the stairwell, slanted at about fifteen degrees. When Maya and I moved in, we were told that the place used to be an illegal nightclub, with an underground tunnel to the laundromat next door. The landlords had broken down the wall between two studio apartments; we slept in walk-in closets and had two bathrooms, two living rooms, and no privacy. The ceiling was popcorn plaster and the fixtures in one bathroom were black. As far as I know, nobody ever snorted cocaine off the rim of the tub, but everyone mentioned the possibility.

The Eckford Street apartment was beautiful, and constantly surprised us with new ways an apartment can be broken.

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On Not Buying a House

Meg Keene writes a lovely essay about growing up working class, defining security on her own terms, and why not-grabbing the brass ring of home ownership is the right decision for her family, for right now.

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Renters Insurance, Renewed

This morning, I received a call from Allstate telling me that my renters insurance was expiring, and that I should renew it and increase my coverage.

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The Rust Belt, a Biodynamic Farm, and Other Places I’ve Lived

Where have you lived, Nicole Johns?

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The Bait-and-switch Apartment Listing

It goes like this: You see a listing for an apartment on Craigslist (or a realty site) that sounds like it might be a great fit for you, but after contacting the broker you learn that it’s already been rented. The broker convinces you to look at similar apartments, but none of them have the same qualities of the apartment you were initially interested in.

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Searching for a Dream Apartment But Finding Only Nightmares

Where have you lived, Zoe Daniels?

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Are the Suburbs Worth It?

I cannot pretend to do a useful comparison of the relative costs of city renting and suburban home ownership. There are too many variables and too many personal preferences to offer any insight. (In my own highly idiosyncratic experience, renting has proved a better deal, but your mileage may vary.) But what about the schools? They are better, sure, but how much better? How much more should a monthly mortgage payment be than monthly rent to live in a neighborhood with less crime? And is something else lost when we sacrifice a communitarian investment in a place for individual advantage, and in the transaction raise our children with less exposure to economic and ethnic diversity?

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When ‘Bugmaggedon’ Strikes

In The Washington Post Magazine, Jessica Goldstein details her experience of discovering bed bugs in her apartment.

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FridgeWatch 2014: Miracles Do Happen

Well, I am a cynic no more. What I thought would be a five or ten-part series on the epic battle to get my landlord to replace our ailing refrigerator is now, a week later, fully and inexplicably resolved.

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