We’ve lived in our current apartment for 4 years and it has (mostly) served us well. I fell in love with its vintage charm when we first looked at it (and it’s in a great location, of course, in the heart of the city close to shops and restaurants). I mean, look at this hutch and the hardwood floors.
I still love some of the other old features in our place (a built-in breakfast nook, french doors separating the living and dining room), but I am also very, very tired of the limited space, limited storage, drafty single-pane windows, window ACs, no patio/place to BBQ, and dealing with neighbor and freeway noises (due to the poor insulation). I don’t even want to think about the (fast approaching) summer months when this place turns into a hot ‘oven’ and I am thankful for any extra minute I can spend at my air-conditioned office. On top of that, our landlady is really nice, but she (or the company that she manages the building for) literally does the absolute bare minimum when it comes to maintaining/upgrading the apartment(s). I had asked about the status of the windows on the day we moved in (they’re old and have no seal and she simply said “we won’t replace them”), same goes for the hardwood floors, which are gorgeous, but haven’t been polished/sealed in a long time, which has resulted in splinters and stained, swollen wood from a water leak.
I also probably shouldn’t tell you that there is a towel stuffed between the window panels in the bedroom where our AC is installed. Probably because it’s drafty (well, it still is drafty!), but I wouldn’t know, as I didn’t put the towel there, the former tenant did, and I haven’t moved it in 4 years (and the outside window cleaner that finally came after 3,5 years of us living here, didn’t seem to bother about the towel either. He decided to just not clean that window at all). Go figure!
And let’s not even talk about the state of the rest of the building’s exterior.
Last week we got a letter in the mail from our landlady announcing that they’re raising the rent on May, 1. My instant reaction was: Hell to the no.
There is another fourplex next door that has been completely gutted and updated and I assume that they’re asking a lot more rent for their apartments (as they should for a completely from-the-ground-up renovated place!), but I think that’s where our landlady got the idea that they should raise the rent as well (but without gutting and upgrading anything in our apartment first, of course!).
Yes, the rent has been pretty affordable for the location where we live (actually, a quick google search confirmed that it’s right around the “average” for a 1-bedroom apartment in our area), but at the same time, the apartment is old and definitely leaves a lot to be desired. I am willing to pay a little more for a newer, nicer place, but I am really not willing to pay more for this place than what we’re currently paying, just because there are so many things amiss (that I purposefully overlooked when we first moved in, but that just have been growing into bigger and bigger concerns over time).
I originally wanted to wait until everything with my contract switch at work is all wrapped up (that’s a whole different story), but I don’t know if I can’t wait that long, so we started looking for a new place. Preferably with a soon-ish move in date. I kind of feel like sticking it to our landlady a little bit (for not really taking that great care of the place and for trying to (unsuccessfully, I might add!) make us pay for outlet upgrades and such things in the past and now facing us with a rent increase).
Our next door neighbors (+friends) moved out last summer (and there was one former tenant in their unit before them), one of our downstairs neighbor moved out last weekend (and we knew two more tenants downstairs before her). By now, we have been in our building the longest, which – as we’re going on 4 years – is not really that long, which means this place has a pretty high turnover if you consider that tenants are locked in for at least one year initially.
It took our landlady 6 months to rent out the apartment across the hall again (and god knows how long it will take her to rent the apartment downstairs), so it’s not like people are standing in line to pay this much money for a place that desperately needs some upgrades. She even flat out told us that a lot of people looked at the apartment, but most of them were not willing to pay the price that she asked. I am not surprised.
But hey, let’s raise the rent on the current tenants. That seems like a splendid idea. Boy, is she in for a surprise when she’ll get our 30-day notice.
Unfortunately, finding a new place won’t be that easy either. I’ve been looking for the past couple of weeks and have come across so many rental scams (it’s not even funny). I don’t remember that being the case when we moved four years ago (or I just got lucky), but maybe it’s because we’re looking for a small rental house/duplex instead of an apartment complex?
I have communicated with three (!) alleged house owners that are looking to rent out their houses, who all had to mysteriously leave town on very short notice for a job in a new city, but are looking to find someone who will take good care of their house. They all couldn’t find an agent to manage the rental process and therefore had to take the papers and keys with them and, of course, they’d love to rent me the place (without knowing anything about me!), but also nobody is available to show me the place in person and I should just trust that the place looks immaculate from the inside (see the beautiful pictures!) and that they would be willing to send the paperwork and keys asap, if I am willing to work with them.
As if I am going to rent a house (interior unseen) and rent from someone and send the first and last months’ rent to someone I’ve never met. Are these lunatics out of their minds? Do people really fall for that? (Oh yeah, and I have I mentioned that those exact homes are ‘for sale’ on other real estate websites?)
Well, I guess I’ll have to keep looking. In the meantime, if you have any insight/advice on (rental) house hunting, I would love to hear it.