What you do when apartment hunting online, and what a lot of people do, I imagine, is you plug in your preferred neighborhood/price range/amenities/etc., and then out pops a long list of results that you further refine by imagining a very specific and very fictionalized narrative involving a version of yourself that isn’t necessarily true right now but could be true if you lived in apartment X. No, you’ve never wielded a wrench for any longer than the time it takes to pass it to your dad, but why couldn’t you fix a fixer-upper? Or be the kind of person to share one bathroom with six other roommates? Or live with a Ukrainian family that’s gone for five months out of the year, but whose kids you’re expected to babysit as per your new rental agreement?
Tuesday night, the Santa Monica (CA) City Council unanimously passed one of the most restrictive laws in the nation on short-term rentals. The ordinance (which strengthens and enforces laws already on the books) explicitly bans vacation rentals – rentals of 30 days or less where the primary occupant of the home or apartment is not present – while legalizing and taxing “home-sharing” – i.e. renting a couch, spare room or backyard cottage - providing at least one of the primary residents lives on-site throughout the stay. Santa Monica (pop. 92K) receives over 7 million visitors annually; Salvador Valles, the city's acting chief administrative officer for Planning and Community Development, estimates the number of available listings on home-share sites would go from 1700 to 300. The ordinance goes into effect June 15. [more inside]
"They don’t know — here he lowers his voice — that even if they get the money and they left, they could always come back. They don’t know that part. And it’s so scary sometimes because they could come up in the middle of construction and say, “It’s my property, I didn’t understand what I was signing, and I want to come back.” -- DW Gibson interviews a Brooklyn landlord about how they push poor black residents out in favor of affluent whites.
Markers of Gentrification: Mapping Rent as a Share of Income Heatmaps showing median rent as a percentage of median income. Note the heatmap colors are not baselined across the cities displayed in the blog post.
Links to the landlord-tenant law of every state in the US from Consumerist. [more inside]
These days, you don't have to be rich to have all the right stuff, at least for the night. Going deep or flying high, these days you don't have to be rich, to pretend. Just a good credit card, and no thought for the future.
Netflix of Books? BookSwim aims to be 'Netflix' of books with a monthly subscription, 3 book-at-a-time with free postage. They are not the first, BooksFree offers a wide selection of 'beach books' and JiggerBug rents a wide audio book selection. Google tried it in 2005, and nearly got burned to the ground. Could libraries and local used book stores be marginalized (though never destroyed) as the local video rental store? Will Border's become the same struggling dinosaur Blockbuster has turned out to be?
Bad Landlords, across the US Recently, the tale of Gloria Trembicky, bad landlord extraordinaire made its way around blogs. The author got enough emails of other bad landlord stories, he's now collecting them at Trembicky.com. Send in your own stories of woe, to help out future renters in your area (and entertain those of us no longer renting).
New startup Peerflix is starting to generate press attention as a clearinghouse for peer-to-peer DVD trades; it's being called "eBay meets Netflix". With an idea that obvious, you'd think someone would have thought of it before, and they had - it was called WebSwap, but it didn't last that long...
Rental company tracks rental car via GPS... fines rentor for $450 for speeding 3 times. The newest Big Brother incident? Rental companies have been using GPS's for a few years, but what gives them the right? How long before Onstar starts fining its members for speeding?
Rent a genius! Got troubles with...well...anything? Not to worry, the answer to all your problems is just a $250/hour genius away.