AARP and the photographers of Magnum Photos look at older people living in new ways around the world in A New Age.

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Struggling with Escalating Rent

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From what I have read, ever since the housing bubble burst, more people are renting instead of buying homes, causing rents to soar.  Investing in apartment buildings has become profitable, and the companies managing them are more interested in generating profits for their investors than they are in the welfare of their tenants.  However, the knowledge that I am in a crowded, leaking boat does not help me prevent it from sinking.

 

When I moved into my one bedroom apartment fifteen years ago, I could afford it.  Now, I manage to pay my rent from the income I derive from Social Security and my part time job.  Each year, the rent increases get larger and more monthly fees for services I neither need nor use are added.  As a result, I've turned frugality into a near art form, trimming all the fat I can from my budget, but I recoil at cutting into its muscle and bone.  What awaits me when my lease expires in February 2020 deeply concerns me.

 

My previous attempts at navigating the more affordable housing maze have resulted in dead ends.  Thanks to the cosmetic renovation craze, apartments offering far less than mine are now priced not that much less or even more than the one I currently lease.  What family I have prefers the cold of the north, while I enjoy calling Jacksonville, Florida home.  HUD and income-based senior housing have waiting lists one to two years long.  Plus, they require you to move in as soon as a unit becomes available, which would cost me two month's rent to break my lease. 

 

I visit Craigslist and other roommate websites.  Nearly everyone there wants a room, has a room to rent, or is looking to share with someone as young as they are.  I may be a minimalist, but I do own furniture and enough kitchen paraphernalia to cook for myself. 

 

The hope I retain is that I can find another person in a similar situation who has reached the same conclusion I have - that splitting the expenses of renting a decent two bedroom two bath apartment is preferable to huddling in a crummy efficiency where it is dangerous to be out after dark.

 

I thought this community would be a suitable place to nudge serendipity in that direction.  This post is the result of my contacting AARP about forming a Roommate Registry for solvent adults seeking responsible housing partners. 

 

If you would like to advise, commiserate, or better still, provide a viable solution, your response would be welcome and appreciated. 

 

 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 2 of 31

Welcome BeeRambles!

 

Some comments about your topic:

One of the advantages of homeownership (whether a single family home, a townhouse, or condominium, etc) is that the mortgage amount is fixed (for most mortgages), so it doesn't rise like rent does. And eventually the mortgage will be paid off, leading to "no rent".

 

Of course, there are other costs of homeownership and they may rise with inflation as does rent. In my experience (1 condo, 1 townhouse, and 2 single family) a conservative approach to buying will result in lower cost over time than renting. But everything needs to be considered carefully if a single person or a couple want to buy rather than rent long term; it could go either way, really, as to which is more beneficial. And renting does relieve one of a lot of responsibilities and gives one freedom for mobility.

 

So, in your situation you might look into buying an affordable 1-2 br condo. Also consider putting your name on that 1-2 year list now for affordable housing...even paying a 2 month penalty to rent your lease might come out better in the end. Good luck!

 

And I have to add... Wow! I am really blown away by your writing! Really really good. You'll "up the game" around here. 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 3 of 31

Thank you for the advice and the compliment.

 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 4 of 31

This is a very huge concern of mine as well. I'm relatively new to AARP & recently divorced. I've been on Social Security Disability for almost 8 yrs, so my monthly income is less than half of what it was when I was working. The cost of rent & housing is constantly in my thoughts & keeps me from sleeping many nights every month. I'm sure that many single members have the same worries. 

 

It would be nice if AARP did offer some sort of registry for people willing to share housing so members could meet up in a more trustworthy way than Craigslist or Facebook. 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 5 of 31

Thank you, Suzanneh.  Your reply made me feel I was right about composing mine.  It was also nice knowing I'm not the only one losing sleep over my housing future.    

 

It has always been single people who pay the heaviest when they rent.  I've yet to find any apartment complex where the one bedroom apartments go for half the rent of a two bedroom or three bedroom unit. 

 

Maybe if enough people like you and I state our views here, AARP will see what a good thing such a registry could be for its members and help us find a suitable solution to our rental dilemmas. 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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"....It would be nice if AARP did offer some sort of registry for people willing to share housing so members could meet up in a more trustworthy way than Craigslist or Facebook....".

 

What? Why would an AARP registry be more trustworthy? This is a website, anyone can be on it. And being a member of AARP, if that were a condition, certainly doesn't make you trustworthy. Just old enough to join.

Search on this --- it's an AARP article on the subject.

 

House Sharing for Boomer Women Who Would Rather Not ... - AARP


"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 7 of 31

To trust or not is an individual choice.   

 

AARP members pay dues to join.  I think they all have to provide a physical address like I did, which is a good indication they exist.  Plus, considering the number times I had to visit this Community before I figured out how to make a begin a topic, I would think it would be a very determined cheat that would take the time to find a victim when posting on Cragislist is so much easier. 

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 8 of 31

Move somewhere more affordable!

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 9 of 31

The next thing that is as sure as death and taxes, rent will go up.  It is not necessarily because the owner of the apartment complex wants it to, but because of property tax values.   I have lived in houses most of my life but the day came when I realized I could no longer handle the upkeep, as I lived alone.  Being over 55, I looked into various apartment complexes, I then visited Independent Living communities.  After visiting about 7 or 8, I found a very affordable apartment.  The rent included all the utilities except the phone!  At the time I moved in, it was a non-profit complex, but was sold to a for-profit outfit.  What did that mean?  Rents went up naturally!  While we still get all the utilities included in the rent, it has gotten to a level that is worrisome.  My Social Security is paying the rent so that makes keeping SS solvent for us seniors.  My only advice (and something I have done) is cut out the frills.  No magazine subscriptions (except AARP of course!), a cheap plan for a cell phone (Consumer Cellular is a winner), and watch the budget.  Try to save money if at all possible and set up an emergency fund for rent, etc.  Work with the landlord if you maybe have to delay the payment (can't pay on the first because you SS comes later).  It is not a perfect plan but  every little bit helps.

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Re: Struggling with Escalating Rent

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Message 10 of 31

For those of us experiencing escalating rents, it's difficult to save monies.  I recycle, use coupons, buy "day old" & "manager's specials," seek out thrift & consignment outlets, pay cash for purchases, take public transportation (bus) & drive a 15-year-old paid-for car.  I also cut the cable tv cord a little over 3 years ago (haven't missed it) & unplug outlets when not in use.  Every little bit helps.

 

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