Places I’ve Lived: Detroit Edition

We lived in a brownstone off of Eight Mile in a decidedly not dangerous and predominantly gay area. To the west of us, houses began to fall in on themselves and the night became progressively darker. The streetlights were out.

Places I’ve Lived: A Dormitory for the Arts, Urban Hilltops, and a Former Department Store

Where have you lived, Marissa Barker?

When Roommates Figure Out How to Split the Rent

Three bedrooms, three different sizes.

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?!”

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.

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.

How Much Would You Need to Earn to Afford a One-bedroom in Your County?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition looked at fair market rents (according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development), and calculated how much a worker would need to earn per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment in their county (the "housing wage").

One Way to Afford Living in an Expensive City: Live in an Abandoned Office

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but if you're looking for some cheap rent, you could consider applying to become a "guardian" of an abandoned office building. Nicole Vloeimans, an NGO worker, pays $635 a month to live in one, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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.

Median One-bedroom Rents in NYC Now As High As $4,210

Will future generations will look upon us City dwellers with pity or scorn? Actually, scratch “future generations.” How about “denizens of Pittsburgh, Denver, Lincoln, or pretty much any other damn place besides San Francisco”? Because the folly of living in New York City, it keeps getting more intense. According to Curbed, which gleaned data from Zumper, median rents for a one-bedroom in the City this past month leaped from “Astronomical” to “More Than Your Great-Grandpa Made in a Year.” They ranged from $1,200 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, which is a place Lena Dunham never lived, to a whopping $4,210 in TriBeCa, in Manhattan, which is a place she did.

Apparently we can blame the Greenpoint price spike on her (a median one-bedroom now sets you back an exorbitant $2,275), since after she set her TV show “Girls” there, the neighborhood exploded. Of course, even the ‘point can’t compare to what I lovingly call “Barely Brooklyn,” the parts of the borough that may as well be Manhattan:

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.