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Regular Contributor

Struggling with Escalating Rent

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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Contributor

Same struggle here in Buffalo, NY. I am on a fixed income and the waiting lists for affordable housing are five plus years. Rents are almost as much as my income. I have lived in the same apartment for twenty years. But the place is declining and last night I found my water has been shut off! She hasn’t paid it since December! I don’t know what to do. I turn her in I risk losing my space.

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Regular Contributor

Water is a basic utility.  Report her.  

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Contributor

Well, I must have faith and hope for the best.

I called the Health Department and Neighborhood Legal Services today. She was not responding to my texts...I AM DONE!!

I also told them about the squirrels in the attic and rats in the basement. This place will be condemned and I have no where to go. 

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Regular Contributor

Neighborhood Legal Services may also be able to assist you with housing.  Ask them.

Periodic Contributor

At age 75, i decided to buy a 2 story townhouse. That was 3.5 years ago. I lived previously in a 55 plus rental. A really nice 2 bedroom cottage with a garage. I loved it there. Lots to do and regular exercise program. But, rent kept going up. Except for utilities and HOA fee of an xtra $240 A month, my home payment is half with a 15 yr mtg. So I plan on staying as long as I can get up those 16 stairs.

 I think some kind of registry would be nice, but don't know if AARP is the one to take it on. I think it benefit us to take it up with city planning. I wish they would plan for tiny homes with a small front porch, in a walkable community, with grocery and stores nearby. And of course, near my family ( that is the 'catch').

Newbie

I'm very interested in your Registry.  I live in San Francisco and for 38 years lived in a rent-controlled building.  In January, the entire building was evicted through the Ellis Act.  Since then, I've been crashing with friends.  I'm old enough to know that can't last long.  My search for housing has thus far proved fruitless.   Your idea of a Roommate Registry just might be the ticket.  I wish you good luck.

Regular Contributor

Voltaire 1,

 

Isn't it just like the government to rescind a perfectly good solution like rent control for us people on fixed income.  I recently read in AARP's newsletter than 80% of seniors will be renting.  Just how much blood do these suckers think they can get out us turnips?  Are tent cities for seniors in the future for us grasshoppers that don't have the funds to buy and have to rent? 

 

 

Regular Contributor

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.

 

Conversationalist

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.

Gold Conversationalist

Move somewhere more affordable!

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Regular Contributor

Duh!  Wasn't that the point of my post? 

 

I am looking for an acceptable way to go about doing just that.

 

Still, thanks for reading and responding. 

Trusted Contributor

I am in exactly the same position you are, BeeRambles, and it does scare me.  I'm pretty sure my landlord plans to renovate my apartment building soon, which means I'll be forced out.  I have no idea where I'll end up.  Rents in Oregon have skyrocketed over the last 3-4 years.  I'm living a bare bones existance, driving a 23 year old car, etc. 

 

What state do you live in?  Wouldn't it be great if you said Oregon?  Smiley Happy

 

I would LOVE to know about a reliable and safe rental referral service that can  either direct me to low cost senior housing or put me in touch with another senior in my position that would like to share an apartment and expenses.  

Periodic Contributor

Seniority is the same here in Tampa, except senior housing has a 4 year at least waiting list and are not taking new names. One bedroom apts are expensive. I too am retired, older (82), and with limited income, even though I worked 55 years as an RN, BSN, and was Certified with ANCC. My husband was a retired USAF officer who for unknown reasons did not leave me Survivor Benefits that I did not learn about until after he died. He had no life insurance (I was not aware of that either). He left me in a fix. Our home was not liveable after a hurricane removed the roof and it had extensive water damage and was beyond repair. I sold the property at a huge loss. I’m now 82. I’ve had a heart attack and a triple CABG. I fell a year and 1/2 ago and fractured my distal femur above where I had a total knee replacement. It was a comminuted fracture (bone broken into small pieces) and Physical Therapy did not think that I would ever walk again. I do walk, but use an UpWalker or a folding walker. I walk everyday up to 3 miles per day. I would love to find someone to share a house or apartment with. I can cook light meals. I currently live with my son, but would rather have other arrangements.

Robbi 

Silver Conversationalist

Sorry to go off-topic. But the story in this post really upsets me (sorry, ma'am!)

 

I have heard of this sort of situation before and I just don't understand it!

 

How can a loving husband not take care of things, and make arrangements, for when his beloved spouse is a widow? How can these guys live for today and not give a thought to the security of their loved ones? I'm sure there are many possible reasons ranging along the spectrum of irresponsibility or uncaring ...ranging from cluelessness at the low end (highly irresponsibility but perhaps not too uncaring) on up to knowing what's up and just being uncaring and selfish.

 

Oh, this makes me so upset!

 

 

 

 

 


@Robbi75 wrote:

...I too am retired, older (82), and with limited income, even though I worked 55 years as an RN, BSN, and was Certified with ANCC. My husband was a retired USAF officer who for unknown reasons did not leave me Survivor Benefits that I did not learn about until after he died. He had no life insurance (I was not aware of that either). He left me in a fix. ...


 

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Regular Contributor

In my friend's case, her late husband turned out to be an abusive batterer.  When all was said and done, and after she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, she dumped/trashed/sold whatever belongings he'd left behind.  They'd had a small celeb photography business, the contents of which she was later able to sell, leaving her with a little bit of monies but not much.  Not enough for long-term survival.  It boggles the mind, even now, all of these years later, that he left her in ruins.  

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Same thing happened to a friend of mine many years ago.  Her husband suffered a recoverable stroke & then a massive one.  When he died, she was left to pick up the pieces, putting his Medicare balances & funeral expenses on credit cards when then, in turn, led to bankruptcy.  He had not a dime of life insurance.  When I asked, she just shrugged: "Just goes to show much how much he really cared about me."  

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Robbi 75,

 

My sympathies for your plights. 

 

I live in Jacksonville, Florida and am hoping to find someone willing and able to sign a lease on an apartment with me.  That is why I gave myself a year to find someone and get to know them before taking such a big step. 

 

I hope by sharing your situation here you find someone suitable to split expenses with as well. 

 

Thank you for replying.   

 

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It seems that rents are increasing at such a rate, they've become fodder for comic strips.  In Sally Forth on Monday, Ted predicted his daughter would need 12 roommates in order to live in the city when she grew up.  Reading that prompted me to find another way to approach to my need for a roommate.

 

There are several roommate websites out there, but other than Craigslist, I had yet to find one that did not charge a fee.  Since entrepreneurs profiting from my plight without providing any guarantee of help seemed too great a risk for me to take on my limited means, I haven't investigated any.

 

The other day, on a whim, I Googled senior roommates and found a website called Senior Home Shares, and it is free.  Since you get what you pay for, its terms of use exonerates itself of any chicanery on the part of any of its members, but it also provides sound advice on how to avoid dishonesty.  Since I've only recently discovered it, I can't recommend it, but it seemed genuine to me and easy to use, so I'm giving it a try. 

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Though we seem to be in the same predicament, BertieBGone, we don't live in the same state unfortunately.  My home is Florida, so it is a nationwide problem, just as  I thought. 

 

A couple of years ago, the latest owners of the apartment complex I live in renovated the apartment while I was living in it.  That was a horrid experience where I felt like I was their employee rather than their tenant.  I had to empty out all my cabinets, clean up after the workmen, and for three days, use only the bathtub to wash everything.  Not only that, I got a close up view of what a slipshod job they did, none of which I, or even the apartment manager, could get them to repair.  For all that inconvenience and unnecessary cosmetic cover-up, I was charged $100 more a month in rent.  Therefore, you have my sympathy. 

 

Since I have yet to find any resource where rent burdened seniors can congregate to find potential roommates, I made my post here as a start. 

 

Good luck to you, BertyBGone, and thank you for replying.

Periodic Contributor

Bee Rambles where in Florida do you live? I am in Tampa. It would be wonderful if there were some sort of group that matched comparable people to be housemates. I think it could help some of us who can’t afford to find places to live. We have lots of senior housing here but it is all full with long waiting lists. The same was true in NC where I was living before I came to Florida.

Robbi

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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. 

Regular Contributor

AARP could be an invaluable resource in adding a shared living forum.  Infinitely better than craigslist, westside rentals, etc.

Trusted Contributor

BeeRambles - well, it looks like you've got some serious contenders for some sort of "roommate registry" in FL, OR and now CA.  Now do you have some sort of magic wand you can wave to make it all happen?  Smiley LOL  Smiley LOL

Regular Contributor

Bertie B Gone,

 

What little magic, if any, I have is contained in my posts.  No wand included. 

 

JoJo 0345,

 

You must have greater faith in your local government than I do in mine.

 

Thanks to both of you for replying though.  Maybe if this thread becomes long enough some good will come of it. 

 

To Both of You,

 

Thank you for reading and replying. 

Honored Social Butterfly

"....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..."
Regular Contributor

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. 

Regular Contributor

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. 

Super Contributor

I agree. I've been researching apartments in Jacksonville, FL only to be shocked by the rental prices. If the rent is HUD based due to retirement income at a certain level each month, those places were mostly full with long waiting list. I'm still looking though.
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Silver Conversationalist

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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