Bicycle Station open

Bicycle Stations open

I believe its first day was Friday or Saturday. I’m not really in the market to rent or buy a bike, but has anyone checked it out?

UPDATE: Owner Stephen Harrell told me they’re renting five Laguna Bikes FREE from 11am to 6pm this weekend (9/26 and 9/27). Call Melissa Steele 202-525-3456 to make your reservation today.

Yesterday when I picked up  my mail I was greeted by not one, but two, letters from a law firm. Being a law abiding citizen, I kind of freaked out. Opening it, I found that the owner of the condo I am leasing is delinquent in their condo fees. The condo association is now demanding I pay them in lieu of paying rent to my landlord, and is threatening legal action, including eviction, against me if I don’t. Even though I have done nothing wrong. This is my third week in the apartment. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it.

So here’s my case for tenant’s rights. When I applied for this apartment, I had to fill out a detailed application with information about how much I had in my bank accounts, my debts (none, by the way), my employment history and salary, personal references, etc. All to prove I could and would pay rent on time. This is all normal, and I know that. But, as I signed a legal agreement in the form of a lease, which gave my landlord all sorts of recourse if I was delinquent in rent, I had no protection if the landlord did not pay their mortgage or their condo fees. I had no assurance in the form of an application with their personal and financial information or the opportunity to run a credit check to make sure they would pay their mortgage and other associated fees on time so that I could continue residence in the property.

Should I have demanded this? As I’m learning, probably. Is it normal? No. Would I have been rebuffed if I had asked? Probably. We should demand tenant’s rights, because when owners are foreclosed on and tenants have to deal with the consequences of not having a home, or condo fees aren’t paid and the association holds the tenants responsible, and we as tenants have no recourse, that isn’t OK. Why do landlords get all of the legal protection and tenants get next to nothing? I’m not OK with that. I’m a financially responsible, law abiding person, and I won’t stand to be held legally responsible for my landlord’s apparent irresponsibility just because I happen to be the tenant.

When I first started writing this blog, I wrote about seeing an ad on best of Craigslist: a woman renting out her bathroom in her NYC apartment. Now, another one shows up, someone in San Francisco renting out their 20 x 24 square foot bathroom (pretty huge for a bathroom, no?). I thought the first post’s specifications were a little weird, but check this out:

The only thing is we require that you remove all your stuff every morning (after you bathe of course) so that we can maintain the appearance of wealth even though we don’t have much money these days. We are meeting with venture capitalists and have a new technology we are trying to showcase and we bring investors over all the time and we don’t want them knowing we have somebody living in our bathroom.

Oh yeah, and this “PS – we aren’t racist, but we do want people who fit our image and personal brand aesthetic. No bargain shoppers, manual laborers or people who look comfortable on public transportation.”

What gives, is the economy really that bad? With the first ad, I chocked it up to the ridiculous means someone would go to live in NYC, but now I’m not so sure.

And how much would you pay in rent to live in a large (0r small) bathroom in someone’s house…

For various reasons, I’m looking for a new apartment in the U street area with my boyfriend. To leave the details intentionally vague, I believe we’re being discriminated against by a potential landlord. We make more than enough money to qualify for the lease, yet he is holding out for whatever reason.

DC has some of the most comprehensive fair housing laws in the country. A friend used to work for the National Fair Housing Alliance, and through talking to her I’ve learned a lot about fair housing. While federal laws state that you can’t be discriminated against based on “race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin” as well as because of a disability, DC’s laws are much more comprehensive.

DC prohibits discrimination against “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business of any individual.” I could probably make a case against discrimination in my case with at least three of those protected classes.

But is it worth it? I don’t really want to fight this landlord, because why would I want a landlord that is either unfamiliar with these laws or is familiar with them and doesn’t adhere to them? Regardless, it rightfully makes me very mad. I’m still looking for a new, better place on U street.

From best of craigslist, NYC:

I have a huge bathroom

I am a female in my mid 60’s and I am looking for a room mate. Times are tight and I need some extra money.

I am willing to rent out my bathroom in my 1 bedroom east village home.

My bathroom is large. You can easily put a twin air mattress in there. I only ask that when I need to use the bathroom, you or your air mattress are not in it.

I do ask that when you are in the apartment, you confine yourself to the bathroom. I do not feel comfortable with a stranger walking around my living room. This might change as I get to know you better.  You may have guest over as long as they are cnfined (sic) to the bathroom as well. This might seem a bit odd but please remember the rent is $400 and the bathroom is large.

Even for $400, I don’t think this woman is getting any takers. I, for one, am happy to spend a little more on an apartment where I have my own bedroom (and bathroom!) and don’t sleep on an air mattress on the floor of someone else’s (large!) bathroom. But who knows, it is New York, and we all know how different the real estate market is there vs. in DC. Or not.