Sunday, June 19, 2022

NYC Apartment Hunting -- Pandemic, My Butt!!!

Even though crime is rising in NYC, that's apparently doing nothing for rental prices or getting into an apartment. Even trying to get a roommate is a bitch in this place. I'm beyond frustrated and definitely don't remember it being this f-ing difficult even at the peak of my hard scrabble post-divorce life when I'd just gotten out of the transient life. When I was looking in 2015, it was at another point where the rental market was said to be impossible and I was in an emergency situation where I had to get the F out ASAP since my roommate was literally trying to interfere in my relationship with my then boyfriend Mr. Orgy. At this point, it's time for an upgrade and I'm fed up with one of my landlady's sons who has no respect for personal property, personal space, neglected a cat who recently died as part of it, doesn't pay a dime in rent + has a girlfriend who's been in my face over things she's got no business bothering me about or trying to make rules on. Nobody would pay any form of rent to live in these conditions and I offered to pay more rent to get the second room and them leaving but my landlady would rather accommodate these leeches than a quiet, long time tenant who even paid her rent when she wasn't in the state for most of 2020. I don't have to enable these assholes and plan to pay only for utilities and a reduced rent reflecting the loss of my quiet enjoyment of my space.

By law, I have to get a 90 day notice before I can be evicted and I'm pretty sure a court would consider the fact that I have to lock my door when these leeches get into fights and the damage to property that would lead a rational person to fear for their personal safety among the various issues that are intolerable such as eating food I paid for (which made it necesary for me to get a lockbox for the fridge in the kitchen), crowding me out of spaces that were part of my lease when I moved in, etc. My landlady's other son told me he was also looking to move because of these leeches and every single person who's aware of this situation has said it's time to move, I don't need to be there, etc.

Now, you may be asking "But WHY is it so hard to find an apartment in NYC? Aren't you having massive crime waves and lots of lefist lunacy that's led hard working people with common sense to flee to FL? Didn't a lot of people find their distant digs much better than NYC and refuse to return? And what about how dangerous the subway is and how people are getting shoved onto tracks, murdered by homeless people who are mentally ill and criminals are literally running the streets? Shouldn't there be tons of vacanies and much cheaper rent?"

If reality existed here, I'd say you're absolutely right but here are the problems with finding apartments in NYC:

1) Finding a place legitimately being rented out by an owner is like finding a pearl in a bed of oysters. It seems like it was more common when I first moved here in 2007 but now you might as well try to fly from the top of one of NYC's infamous high buildings. You'd probably be more successful at taking flight by flapping your arms and not just plummeting to your death than you would be finding a legit listing where you deal directly with the owner of a place.

2) Everything is listed by brokers. Brokers by and large are all about the money and treat potential tenants as numbers. Some seem okay and some might be honest but most are all about the Benjamins vs. actually getting you a good fit into an apartment. I go to viewings and see places but if you want to apply, some won't tell you how many people are in front of you, will keep showing places even when there are multiple applicants in the pool or won't even bother to contact you and then you get notification that the place you asked about is already off the market.

Do you hear from the broker again on other listings they have??? Hell no! Some will tell you they'll contact you but in my experience, that's been a lie. If you don't have a close friend who does this or find a renter's broker (which may not even exist), you get zero respect or consideration even if you actually need out of a situation.

3. Application fees: almost every place has these. By law in NYC, you can't charge more than $20 for this (credit, criminal, background checks) and if you have a report from the last 30 days they can't charge you an application fee. I have such a report after getting rejected from a place (more on that later) but haven't had the opportunity to try this part out. I have, however encountered ads and brokers trying to charge well above this. Just this evening, I see an ad on SpareRoom for a ROOM charging a $40 application fee (supposedly "after the initial application" like somehow that's a legal loophole permitting it).

If you start seeing places and want a chance in hell of being considered against throngs of others, you have to pay a fee for each one. Imagine how quickly this fee adds up. Did I mention that this fee isn't refundable if you get rejected? You still need money for deposits, broker fees and moving expenses since you most likely don't have a truck or a van and you aren't He-Man so you're going to need help moving your stuff. When you're over 35, your friends and parents (if you even have fit men with muscles or women with lifting power) aren't going to haul all your belongings from one place to the next, often involving walking up flights of stairs. Some places I've seen have 5th and 6th floor walkups with no elevator in the building. I'm in a 4th floor walkup and that's my absolute limit; before I moved here, I never lived above the third floor anywhere.

I've even seen roommate listings demanding application fees. FREAKING ROOMMATE situations. You know, where you're not getting your own space and have to share kitchens, bathrooms and occcasional living rooms and ask permission to do things you'd be able to do easily at your own house? I've encountered some of these where roommates had open "you can't have anyone over" rules and some don't allow pets (though that's a bit more understandable if your rent is much cheaper than it would be to rent your own apartment in the area). As I explained to people like that, I could live with my mother for free and deal with that. I could also live with some guy for free and deal with that condition (and did when I had to though I didn't make that rule); at least I'd also have regular sex in that situation so I wouldn't become a pain in the ass to everyone I encountered in society.

4. Scammers abound thinking you are supposed to hand over thousands of dollars before even seeing a place or worse, to apply for a place. Never, ever pay money without seeing a place first and don't give more than $20 to anyone to apply for a place. Also, demand a broker show you their license since they are required to carry this on them at ALL times (this was told to me by a long time broker and she did show me her information). Some scammers are even pretending they are brokers and brokers have even lied about being brokers to see a place (this happened to an owner whose place I checked out but got rejected for).

5. Delusional management companies: one apparently demanded applicants to pay a full months rent via certified check just to apply to a place according to a broker I met at one property during my lunch hour (and ended up late back to work because of this on a hot day so no looking at apartments during my lunch hour unless that place is walkable from my apartment). I adamantly refused and noted that I'm not stupid nor am I hearing the word "refundable" in this context.

I also got rejected from an apartment where rent was far below the metric for affordability in NYC (your yearly salary > 40x the rent) because I didn't have a guarantor (or as I call it, a rich daddy since this means someone who makes more money and has better credit than you).

Now keep in mind I have a very high credit score well over what it's recommended you have to get into a place and just got on full time in my current job where I'm being paid a lot more than I was in the past and finally in the atmosphere of what my skills are worth (which is also more than what a lot of people who aren't members of the 1%, STEM employees or work in finance are earning). I even got a peek at my own rental report and my score was over 800 out of 1,000 on my candidacy of rentability. Nobody should be asking me for a rich daddy to co-sign for me in this scenario, especially when I don't even have a father at this point. I definitely am pissed by this and still feel these are a bunch of idiot classist assholes.

If I had a rich daddy, why would I be trying to rent a place for $1,800 a month uptown when I could just buy a place directly or live with the rich daddy? Like were you born stupid or did you work at it your whole life (to borrow a line from a song I heard in the John Waters movie "A Dirty Shame" that apparently was called "The Asshole Song")??

6. The general attitude of management companies is akin to that of government employees: from what I've seen, you're not allowed to have objections to the price, apartment layout or any issues the company should account for. Nope, you should be thrilled to pay obscene rental prices to live across from the projects (or crime havens), have your closet for your clothes in the hallway, live in a 6th floor walkup with no elevator, have a micro kitchen, or deal with having no space whatsoever for your stuff. Having standards?!?!? How dare you!!!!!!! I've never seen anybody seem to take these realities into account when setting rent prices. Apparently landlords were desperate when NYC was burning and it was deserted but now?? They view it as business as usual and say "Fuck you for not settling. You'll take it and you'll happily accept my extortion." Well, not directly but they ought to; I'd probably have more respect for someone who openly said that vs. lying about it.

I guess I've gotten older and more jaded about the idea of living in Manhattan but I've seen this attitude permeate in neighborhoods nobody would call toney or upscale. I've not even wasted my time looking in some areas since I'm not interested in wasting my entire paycheck on rent. I'm deliberately looking at places below the 40x metric and trying to avoid situations where I'm going to be slammmed with crazy rent increases like so many were post-pandemic after getting some good deal in 2020 or early 2021. I'm also avoiding areas I know are unsafe since I also consider that a dealbreaker unlike some of these delusional housing pushers.

7. Moving companies are known for extortion and ripping people off in NYC. You have to really search to find a good one so that's a whole other ordeal. They always charge extra to move from or into walkups and I've definitely read some nigthmare stories. Oh, and they also charge extra if you're moving at the beginning of a month. I bet they also charge more for weekend moves yet some of us work and don't have PTO or want to take PTO for that. I don't even have as much but I know that's yet another expense I have to deal with.

8. Finally, delusional roommate situations. Do you really expect grown people to never see their significant others? Or worse, that you get to live with YOUR signficant other but expect someone else to pay rent to NEVER have overnight guests (I have seen this in ads)? That's inequality and absurd right there. I refer to it as sex policing and demanding me to live in a convent.

I think a "no guests longer than a week" policy solves the issue of unwanted live in SOs. Not dominating common spaces, not using other people's stuff or eating their food and not leaving your mess in places is fair but policing my body and what I do with it in my own space I pay rent for, demanding me to maintain Danny Tanner cleanliness standards and spend my weekends being Cinderella is not acceptable, especially at this stage of my life. To me, that's why I DON'T want to live with roommates. Somebody like that is too high maintenance and seems to be a wannabe church mom as well as no fun whatsoever.

There's a fine line between having orgies and having dates or your significant other come over where you are respectful of space + volume. Why do I have to ask permission to have guys over in a space I pay for? I didn't deal with this shit in college and I adamantly will not pay rent to be living with some Mom wannnabe. I also don't police anyone else's love life. They can screw anybody's brains out they want in their own room as long as I'm not having to see it or be kept awake with it. You also can't get the sex smell that easily in a room; it takes real effort for that. It seems like women in particular are harpy bitches about someone having sex. I'm definitely not one of those. I did speak to one man who had that condition and I gave him this response exactly but most men I've encountered don't make a thing of it, I guess because they wouldn't want to live under those conditions themselves.

Family and others have told me to focus on getting my own place vs. roommate situations. My sister even told me I didn't have a good track record with them and should be getting my own place. I feel like at this point, I should unless I found a really good situation with people who aren't fuckups or sex policers. It always seems like the normal people don't have space here. Who wants to bet the sex policers are also "woke" and claim to be tolerant? Yes, I think I've always been the type who wants to live alone and now I should actually do that since I am responsible, have a means to do that now and need minimal stress in my life.

What's shocking is I'd expect sex policiers to be closer to my mom's age or from conservative religions but many of them are in their 20s and don't declare some fundamentalist religious affiliation. It seems we have Puritans dominating the new generation and finding people who aren't this way is a battle.

I just want to find a place that meets my parameters (which are far from unreasonable even by NYC standards) and be left alone while I'm paying rent. I believe one pays rent to be left alone and you don't need to be up in a roommate's business when you don't know them. I've not been friends with roommates since I was in law school and never lived with a bestie.

Friends familiar with the absurdity of renting here have sympathized, made neighborhood suggestions and said I needed my own place. They've also confirmed this process being nonsense and one pointed out that apparently I'm doing this in a crowded market and a busy season. But when hasn't housing demand been high and crowded here? Am I supposed to just rot in this situation, enabling these leeches or settle for garbage? I feel like if you don't keep standards for yourself, you'll just make yourself miserable and unhappy.

I'd like to have some advocates who give a shit about ME and actually SHOW this vs. paying me lip service. I need a broker friend or someone who'll advocate for me with a decision maker on this front even though you'd think any sane buidling owner would want a tenant like me, particularly at this stage of my life. Why should I be forced to beg for an apartment when I have that score of over 800 out of 1,000? What gives here? I have long term tennancy situations where nobody would trash me as a renter. I've known landlords who had some nightmare stories about tenants and I have never done the things they told me about those tenants doing.

Is it just a society that punishes people for being responsible, law abiding and not beingn trust fund brats? At least I can't be evicted for a while and nobody's going to sex police me here (I'd refuse to pay a dime past utilites in that scenario) but this is mental sanity stuff right here. I don't think my mental sanity needs to be tested after all the shit I've had to deal with already. Why hasn't the balance moved to people like Hunter Biden or DeBlasio or other truly despicable types? Just saying. At least I'm more than happy and capable of knocking people down from their self-created pedestals and don't worship anyone.

For those in NYC, I leave you with this question: Do you think it's harder to get housing or get a man you have a future with in NYC? It feels like both are impossible at this point.