The Hunt for a Place of My Own

"You have six months to find your own place," my godmother, Kimmie, says.

On Seattle and Small Apartments

That's my apartment. The whole thing.

What I Learned About Renting While Living in Canada

When I moved halfway across the country to go to university at 17 it was my first time being away from my parents for more than a week. This was definitely not a problem; I had been focused on "getting out" for years. Unfortunately for me, my parents had no idea what they were doing, and neither did I. I've now lived in five different apartments of varying degrees of crappiness in three different Canadian cities with 10 different people. I would like to share with you some themes of my experience in the rental housing market, namely all the basic ways you can hopefully avoid similarly crappy experiences as much as possible.

Better(ish) Living With Roommates

I have only lived alone once, and it was not by choice. When I was a senior in college, my boyfriend broke up with me over the phone from San Diego, saddling me with a lovely studio apartment with an eat-in kitchen, lots of sun, and a rent payment that I couldn’t really afford. I paid my rent using a loan that I am still most likely paying off, and spent a lot of that long winter marooned on my bed eating frozen grapes and watching the Food Network, since I refused to cancel the expensive cable. I lived there for the whole year, alone, but was too sulky to appreciate what I had.

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.

What Should a City Do When the Rent Becomes Too High to Afford?

Yesterday Ester wrote about median one-bedroom rents reaching highs of more than $4,000 in NYC, and earlier this month I linked to a story from Southern California Public Radio discussing the high rents in Los Angeles. As cities become wealthier and price out low-income workers and the middle- and creative classes, what can be done? Shaila Dewan examines this question in the It’s the Economy section of the Times Magazine:

The rules of the market say that in this situation, people should simply opt to live someplace cheaper. But in today’s economy, that’s not so simple. Detroit has very cheap housing, but unfortunately, all of it is in Detroit. Alternately, more desirable cities could build more housing to satisfy demand, but new developments don’t tend to have that effect.

Luxury towers are sprouting up, adding density to unlikely places, from the Brooklyn waterfront to San Francisco’s Mid-Market district. But adding inventory to the high end does nothing to help the middle — one of the many irritating peculiarities of the 21st-century boomtown housing market. Building new apartments can actually push rents higher, and amenities for the masses, like transportation and parks, may have the effect of pricing them out. Everyone wants to live in these places, so no one can afford to. What’s a global city to do?

House of Squirrels

I could hear a scratching sound as I moved some of my things into my bedroom from the living room. Matthea nodded. "Yeah, there are squirrels that live in the storage closets." She gestured to two small doors facing each other on opposite sides of the living room. "Just don’t ever open those doors because then they’ll run out." I nodded. It was my first apartment and I didn’t know anything about squirrels yet.

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.

When Roommates Figure Out How to Split the Rent

Three bedrooms, three different sizes.