Five reasons why renting an apartment is a huge pain
For the first time in almost a decade of living in houses, I'm looking for an apartment/condominium to rent. And much like dating after getting out of a long marriage, there are many things about renting that have changed over the years -- almost everything, in fact. From predictable factors like rental prices going up and amenities going down, to interesting new developments like clauses for using cannabis, bedbug infestations and "pet rent," finding a rental property isn't as cheap, easy or fun as it used to be.
Here's a list of the top five reasons why renting an apartment today is a huge pain. Okay, I lied -- renting an apartment was never actually fun, but now it's worse.
Hearing all about the housing bubble bursting -- how it happened, and its effect on rental prices and availability -- is one thing, but experiencing the ramifications firsthand is completely different...and much worse. With so many folks losing their homes and moving to rental properties, a studio apartment now costs what a one-bedroom-one-bath used to cost, a one-bedroom costs what a decent-sized two-bedroom unit used to go for, and a two-bedroom apartment is now priced the same as that house you used to rent. And if you want more than two bedrooms in an apartment, or a condo, you may as well sell your organs on the black market.
And trying to rent a condo with some sort of parking space won't cost a kidney, half a liver and a lung -- it will cost your entire body.
I recall rental agents using some artful euphemisms and strategically-angled photos to try and sell me on apartments that weren't nearly as nice as they were advertised, but these days, property managers will utter some insane lies -- and expect you to be grateful that they bothered to talk to you in the first place. I have seen agents try to pass off basement apartments as "first floor"; set up an appointment to view a model apartment, wait for you to show up, then say that they don't do actual showings because "nobody does that anymore; it's all virtual tours"; refuse to confirm or deny the existence of air conditioning in the rental units; ask you to pay expensive "administration fees" in addition to the expensive application fees; and keep repeating, "We have a pool!"
And all of these examples came from one apartment complex that was not exactly upscale.
I learned early on in the apartment-hunting process that the term "pet-friendly" means something different than I thought it did; I think the term "bend over--no lube" would be more accurate. The majority of rental properties want a pet deposit, which is reasonable, but charging $400+ (non-refundable) for a cat is a bit much, and $25+ every month for "pet rent" is not friendly at all -- it's extortionate. People love their pets. Rental agents are exploiting this, and if I'm gonna pay this much money for my pet to live with me, I will expect the leasing agent to feed, bathe and massage my cat for me, make a few vet trips and provide free catnip upon request.
In other words, my cat had better get a good job and earn her keep.