Here in New York City, you can either rent, sublet, or own a co-op. There are other arrangements, but those are the basic three. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but the truth is that the vast majority of New Yorkers are renters; approximately 70% according to this article. That probably doesn’t even count the illegal sublets and roommates (who are legal, but sometimes there are grey areas).
Renting can be a great way to live – if the fridge dies, not your problem. You don’t own anything, but then again, you don’t need to own anything. If you get the wanderlust, you can sublet for a while. If you want to move, just get a van. Or, sell your furniture and get new furniture, free.
However, the natural state of affairs is that the tenants and the landlords hate each other with a hot, burning hatred. Since I have been both a tenant and a landlord, I can give you both sides of the story.
What is a Landlord? A Landlord is a bloodsucking parasite who squeezes every last dime he can out of the victims he calls “tenants”. These poor, beleaguered, hardworking folk stumble home from the salt mines on a daily basis to find a cheerless room lit by a swinging bare lightbulb since the landlord won’t provide decent fixtures. There’s no heat, the water ranges from tepid to icy in the shower, the hallways are like an obstacle course, a dingy lobby provides solace only to waterbugs the size of dinner plates that flit merrily around a 20-year-old disconnected security system. As the tenant prepares a meager repast of ramen noodles on a hotplate (since the gas has been cut off to the building due to the landlord having a tiff with Con Edison), there’s an ominous rustle at the door…yes, sure enough, a notice has been shoved under it informing all tenants of a 300-percent increase in rent due to “capital improvements”. And because the courts and judges have been bought and sold by a bunch of filthy-rich unprincipled bribe-giving, greedy 1-percenters who would sell their own grandmothers for gold (a.k.a. The Landlord), there’s not a thing the tenant can do about it. Bwaa ha ha ha!!!!
What is a tenant? A tenant is a bloodsucking parasite who wouldn’t know
the meaning of “responsible asset management” if it tied him up, hit him over the head, and stole all the illegal drugs he sells out of the poor, hapless landlord’s legally-owned-and-operated premises. The tenant is by nature a shiftless, lazy, disruptive type of person who can never be expected to pay a reasonable fee on a monthly basis to live in a well-maintained,
desirable unit with all the modern amenities. Because the courts and judges have been skewed over the years by wild-eyed communist hippie zealots, the drug-dealing sex-selling sociopath who happily spends thousands of ill-gotten dollars on the biggest and loudest surround-sound speaker system in Brooklyn before buying food for their own children (a.k.a. The Tenant) can continue to live rent-free forever, draining the very life force from the nation’s economy,
and there’s not a thing the landlord can do about it. Bwaaa ha ha!!!!
So you can see, landlords and tenants are natural enemies, like cheetahs and those springy deer-like things. Gazelles? Antelopes? Wildebeests? Anyway, each employs an array of weapons against the other, including force, stealth, the legal system, guile, and pure brass-balled nerve in the never-ending cycle of life. For example. The floor of my apartment was so raw that it was actually splintering. When I called the landlord, he came to inspect…and gave me a citation for the front door lock that HE had installed. Seems it was of an illegal variety. Never did fix the floor. Another example, this time for the landlords: a friend locked out a thieving roommate who hadn’t paid rent in 4 months. But the roommate went to court, and my friend had to pay a settlement and evict the bastard. He actually turned down a chance to be on Judge Judy, and I think the whole episode may have scarred him for life.
The best story of all is the one in where two roommates came home to find that the entire bathroom ceiling had fallen to the floor … chunks of plaster all over the tub, the sink, everything. Roommate A was filled with dismay, but Roommate B saw this for the opportunity it was. She got Roommate A to disrobe, climb carefully into the bathtub, dusted her head and face with some flour, and arranged the plaster chunks artistically over her entire body. They showed admirable restraint by not bringing out the bottle of ketchup. This arrangement was then photographed and sent off by registered mail to the landlord, who knew when he was cornered. He sent the handymen the next day, and had them sign a waiver not to sue if he gave them 6 months free rent. Jackpot!
So, if you want to be a landlord, here are some tips:
- Buy a building with no tenants in it
- If you have to have tenants, make them give you a lot of money up front (“the security deposit”) and do a thorough screening (http://helpforlandlords.com/landlord-state-guide-assistance/new-york-landlord-guide/new-york-tenant-screening/)
- Almost anything can be a “capital improvement”
- Pesky rent laws putting a damper on your profits? Renovate!
For tenants, here are some thoughts:
- You are allowed to have roommates, but you should probably do a background check.
- Having a roommate makes you a landlord.
- If you signed the lease, the owner of the building can evict you for not paying rent, even if it is your roommate’s fault.
- Any problem you have with your landlord has been encountered already by hundreds of people, and you can get free help from tenant groups, or the tenant hotline.
- Even if you don’t pay your rent, buildings are required to have heat and hot water.
- No, the landlord probably can’t do anything about the noisy / crazy / weird neighbor you have unless they are doing something illegal.