9 Days Left: Apartment Highs and Lows

In 9 days we’ll be done with apartment life–hopefully until we’re carted away into an assisted living community anyway–and moving into a house. Certainly renting a unit in a large complex for our first year in an unfamiliar area was the smart way to go, but after 11 years of renting and answering to landlords and management companies, I’m ready to move on.

Here are a few things I will probably not miss about apartments.

1. Clauses and Unusual Rules – I feel like most of the rules are obscure and in place because of one isolated incident that took place years earlier and they simply have to protect themselves. I understand having no glass near the pool, and no loud music after hours, but weird clauses that automatically invoke a new 12-month lease really left me upset a few times.

2. Landlords/Management – For every great apartment manager like our dear friend Kristin Mego, it seems we’ve encountered someone on the opposite end of the spectrum. There have been some very good hands-off places that let us do our own thing, but there have been others like the live-in super back in Minneapolis who were given free rent to supervise the place and went on an all-out power trip.

3. Angry Warning Notes – How many times did I see a single sheet of paper taped to the wall saying “PAINTING PARKING LOT IN 5 MINUTES – ALL CARS WILL BE TOWED WITHOUT WARNING!!!!!” How come so many all-caps words and so many exclamation points? Wouldn’t a kind note work better and help keep the peace?

4. Annoying Neighbors – I’ve actually had really good luck with neighbors aside from a few bad eggs, mostly Frenchman Eugene from downstairs in Minneapolis who constantly complained of our “stumping around”. There was also the jerks next door in Eden Prairie who had the audacity to call the cops just because Jason threw a potted plant off our balcony near a tenant walking his dog. Here in Austin our neighbors have been amazingly helpful most of the time.

5. Parking Regulations – It’s hardly been a problem here in Texas, but in Minnesota–especially in winter–it was a nightmare. Street parking was always impossible and if you messed up and parked on the wrong side of the road you got towed, as I found out a couple times. Or there are more people living in a unit than there are parking spots and someone is left out.

6. Odd Hours – Most complexes I’ve lived in are only open for business during normal business hours, M-F 9-5, or maybe a few hours on a Saturday. Maybe most apartment dwellers work odd jobs and can stroll over during the morning to address an issue, but I always found it difficult to race home to pick up a package or put in a maintenance request.

7. Laundry – Thank God we have our own washer and dryer in our unit now. That was easily the worst part of renting in the places that didn’t have laundry. Sharing a single washer between 12 units in Mpls was maddening.

8. Rent Changes – If we were to have stayed here at High Oaks, we’d be paying about 40% more per month in the coming year. Nice way to keep your tenants happy, eh?

 

Of course, there are good things too that I’m sure I will come to miss.

1. Someone else fixes things that break, and for free.

2. Someone else does all the yardwork… although I have said a few times that’s something I’m actually looking forward to.

3. Easy to up and move. I have gotten pretty antsy before being in one place for a while and moved just for the sake of moving. No more!

4. Location – Most place I’ve lived I’ve chosen due to their convenient location to something, whether it was the office, campus, or fun attractions.

5. Amenities – No longer will we have access to a pool or a gym… not that we used them, but still. When we had that racquetball court in Eden Prairie that was well worth the inflated price of rent.

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