Well, the inevitable happened: My landlord is thinking about raising the rent. Probably substantially. He didn't give me a figure, but he asked me "what [my] plans are." He obviously wasn't asking if I'm going to see Creed III this weekend. He wants to know if I'm still planning to be living here in September. The other week, a pipe broke in the apartment upstairs and the repair involved opening the wall and ceiling of my bathroom. After that, he had the contractor redo my bathroom floor and the shower tiles. I didn't think it needed doing, but okay. I could see which direction the wind was turning. The plumber had to come back today to dot some i's and cross some t's and now the landlord wants to redo the ceilings. I'm fine with them as they are, but he wasn't asking me if I wanted them painted. "This doesn't look good", he said, pointing at the kitchen ceiling. Good to who?
Honestly, I've had it pretty good here for several years. I live right above the landlord and don't make noise, and he hasn't raised the rent hardly at all since the pandemic started. I'm definitely paying below market. If he wanted to kick me out and put a lot of money into fixing everything up, he could probably double the rent. It's overgenerous to call this a "2 bedroom." It's more like a "1½ bedroom." But I'm sure he could rent it to a couple that shares a bed and say it's a 1-br with an office or a baby's room. Heck, if he sold the building he'd make even more, but he lives here and probably doesn't want to move either.
I did a little web-surfing the last couple of weeks, just to see where rents stand in the area. Not looking good. What I'm paying now doesn't even get you a 1-bedroom in neighborhoods like the one I live in now, at least not on apartments.com. There are probably places like this one that are a bit shabby and renting at below-market rates, that don't get on a website like that. I'll have to get creative about where and how to even look.
Out of curiosity, I did look just outside the city - which is to say, just outside the range of public transportation - and while the rents maybe go down a little, the added cost of a car ends up making it more expensive to live in that suburban belt. (And honestly, I don't even want a car.) At some point, I could drift so far away from the city looking for an affordable place to live that it's no longer near enough to where I work, and I'd need to find a new job, too. And then I might as well start looking to start my whole life over, somewhere completely new. I mean, if I'm gonna move to New Hampshire or Rhode Island, moving to Minneapolis or Pittsburgh wouldn't really be much more disruptive. I have friends and cousins who've moved to that suburban belt I was talking about, and I pretty much never see them anymore. In some ways, 30 miles might as well be 1,000.
I may have to broach the subject of a more significant raise with my boss, which kind of makes me break out in hives. Like they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.