Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stupid capitalism

I hate my landlord, and I think it is capitalism's fault.

I live in an owner-occupied free-standing multi-family house. The owner and his family live on the top two floors, and we live on the bottom floor. We pay slightly below market rate for rent (we shopped around extensively and then bargained), but it still constitutes ~70% of the owner's mortgage payment (assuming standard borrowing rates and comparable pricing to neighbors)

It drives me nuts to see him every day. I feel as if he is free-riding on me. He gets equity in the house, and I pay for it. Now I know all the reasons why this arrangement is so: I am paying for the flexibility of leaving, the rent must account for bad tenants and/or damage, they would pay for any potential problems which have as of yet not occurred, but it makes for a terribly awkward social relationship.

We are nominally supposed to be friends (they are plenty nice people), but every time I see him I think about how he is taking advantage of me.

Would this be easier if I were paying a big corporation to get fat doing the same thing? My landlord is a hardworking blue-collar dude (industrial air conditioners), I should be happy for his enterprising nature. but the fact that there is a face not too much older than my own, profiting so directly from me, is difficult.


Wade Garrett said...

You're correct about all of the reasons why your rent is where it is, but a lot of that also has to do with the market in which you're living. Some big cities are renters' markets, others are owners' markets. In New York City, rent is high, but its far more reasonable to rent an apartment than it is to buy one. Apartments in New York are very expensive, but not too much more expensive than similar places in Boston, D.C. or San Francisco, but they are far more expensive to purchase than they would be if located in those other cities.

8yearoldsdude said...

I am less concerned about the rental figure than I am about the peculiar social phenomenon of being an modern serf paying tribute to my lord/vassal.

Laura said...

In Hawaii, my terrible boss at the terrible coffee shop was something of an entrepreneur, and offered to rent me an apartment; he figured he could deduct the rent directly from my pay. This struck me as the worst idea ever in a visceral, feudal way. And then when he turned out to be terrible I was extremely happy to not be doubly dependent on him.

Anonymous said...

Are you paying reasonable rent for the area? I am a 'homeowner'; that is, we owe the bank. We pay sizable taxes, we have to pay the utilities, have to mow the lawn, and fix all the stuff that always needs repair...and wish we could just rent, and not worry about the roof, the repainting, the leaking seals around the windows, and the home owners insurance.We need a new roof, but 5000$ for something you can't eat, or wear seems outlandish.
I feel for you, if you think you are paying too much. If there is something better, you might look into it...or learn from the landlord, save your money and 'do the same' in moving up to rent to others. I wish everybody had what they needed. Peace, L