Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sublets in New York. Once again.

Approaching the end of my second sublet in two days, I am fast moving to the next one. Not that I found one, not really. As a consequence, I can’t stop bitching against the living conditions of New Yorkers compared to Londoners.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that London is of exceptionally high living standards. Not really, as most big cities aren't. Space is limited, rent prices are high and the commute time is twice as long compared to New York (simply because London is twice as big geographically speaking). But one thing is certain: you are not exploited by tenants. Subleting is illegal most of the times and if you decide to go ahead, you need the landlord’s approval. In my seven year London stay, I only met one girl who was renting out the second room of her apartment – probably illegally. Nobody else has even done it.

In the Big Apple, new comers are exploited on multiple levels. First, the property developers who build non-stop and play a significant role in rental prices. Then, the owners who, due to the lack of space, rent out their places at extremely high rates if the apartment is not rent-controlled. Then follow the brokerage firms. You have to pay a fee to a broker in order to get an apartment. Why? That’s only happening in NYC. Usually it’s the landlord who pays the real estate agent when the deal is closed. Not the future tenant. That’s insane. And finally, you have the lease holder who, for a mysterious reason has a lot of power. Since when tenants became so powerful? Once you sing a lease, you can sublet your apartment at any price really, very often two or three times your rent. So this is how you make money. Why getting a 9-5 job? I strongly believe that the lease holders, who actually pay rent themselves, are also responsible for rental prices. If rent was entirely on the hands of owners, the prices would be lower. Lease holders raise the prices because illegally double and triple them! Or, even worse, make money out of nothing. I personally experienced the following: girl out of town looking to sublet her place while traveling, was asking for "deposit" money to secure viewing of the apartment. Now, who is insane here, the girl or those who actually agreed to pay her?
And don't get me started with the actual apartment themselves: one didn't have a window, the second did not have a bathroom (had to use the bathroom across the hallway). The other one had a smell of cat piss.

if you are a newcomer to the city, not a millionaire or Donald Trump and you look for a place to stay, you will be exploited on four levels! Do you get it?

Does it show the low level of living standards in the Big Apple? Probably. In civilized cities, lease holders do not need to sublease. They make enough money to leave their apartment empty with no company when they are away. London is one of those cities. Civilized.

EVENTS in New York

Do you enjoy movies? Do you have some time to volunteer? Then you can attend the
Volunteer Recruitment event for the Tribeca Film Festival.

Monday March 5th from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
At The Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street at Laight Street
(Take the #1, #9, A, C or E trains to Canal Street)

Or visit the website for more information: http://www.tribecafilmfestival.org/volunteer-info-2007.html