Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Efficiency Apartments For Rent

May 16, 2013

Helen asks…

When moving to an apartment is it required to activate the gas? If so, can you avoid all use and pay nothing?

A friend and I were planning on moving out soon and we think we can just pull it off but it’ll be tight. None of the rents were finding are giving us much elbow room and we just want to know what kind of expenses we can do away with.
All great answers. Thank you all so much.

Administrator answers:

Many utility companies require a large security deposit if you have never had an account with them before or if you can not get someone to co-sign for you. You might check on that before you make a decision as it could be a game breaker.

If the apartment has separate water and heating and it is done with gas, you will find it pretty hard not go have the gas turned on. While you could use space heaters to keep the apartment reasonably warm, cold showers would be a real bummer. Also if a pipe breaks due to your not keeping the apartment adequately heated, you would be 100% responsible for the damages.

I would get the gas turned on and use all utilities sparingly. Just some suggestions.

1. Do you really need cable TV and high speed cable internet? Check out what you can get with an antenna and WIFI. That may be sufficient that you can save the $40-50 a month by not going hard wire.

2. If you have a cell phone then do not get a hard line phone. About the only reason to have both is if you absolutely have to have a fax machine at home.

3. Do not get any magazines, newspapers, etc. Get your info off the internet or read the magazines at the public library.

4. High efficiency florescent light bulbs are going for about a buck each right now. Replace all the bulbs in the apartment. Pay particular attention to bathrooms where they have designer lights over the sink and vanity. Sometimes those things have 6-8 light bulbs!!

5. Keep the temperature reasonable and wear sweaters in the winter or shorts in the summer.

6. When you cook, the microwave is the most efficient means of doing it. The oven is the least efficient. So plan how you cook and just do not get in the habit of using whatever it was your parents taught you how to use.

7. Make sure you and your friend both sign the rental agreement. Also have an agreement between the two of you that if one moves out, they have to continue paying half the costs until such time as another roommate is found. You do not want it that one of you can leave and stick the other with all the bills.

8. If they have garages for rent, do not rent one. The garages are no more secure than the parking lot and in fact, it makes it easier for someone to break into your car without having to worry about someone seeing them. Do not store stuff in your car.

Good luck.

Lizzie asks…

Washer tears our clothes and leaves smelly black streaks/powder?

I have had problems lately with the apartment laundry room washers tearing holes in our clothes and leaving smelly black streaks and black powdery crumbly stuff on or around the tears on the clothes. I thought maybe I was overloading but it happens on small loads too. You can’t predict when or which washer will do it. They are high efficiency front loaders, not sure which brand.

What is happening to my clothes? It’s a slum complex so complaining or fighting management is useless, I just want to know if there’s something I can do while laundering here or if I just have to go to a laundromat or hand wash from now on.

It’s tempting anyways since they raised the price after installing these high efficiency things a few years ago, but the washers don’t clean well at all (when they actually work in the first place) and the dryers take two cycles to dry now.

Administrator answers:

Your comment of “Black crumbly stuff on or around the tears” is a good starting point. Search the inside of the washer to see if anything is catching the clothes. Is it a front loader then it could be getting caught between the seal and the front glass. If this is indeed the case then since you are paying more because of these new machines there is a case where you should be reinbursed for the damage they have caused.
I hope you have it in writing that the rent was put up because of the new washers!!

William asks…

How much is it to rent an apartment in japan?


and how much is it to live there?

Administrator answers:

It really depends on where in Osaka you live, how big it is and how old it is.

You can rent a room at a guest house for around 40K yen a month. You share the washroom, shower room, kitchen and public room with everybody else. Think of it as living in a dorm.

A small apartment, much like a bachelor, studio or efficiency apartment (except much smaller) can cost around 50K yen a month.

A 1LDK (1 bedroom + Living + Dining + Kitchen) normally starts out around 80K and goes up from there.

Unless it’s already furnished, you will need to supply everything else including a fridge and gas stove. Everything else is extra meaning heat, water and electricity need to be paid for.

Rental agents can help you find a place, but they get a fee usually equal to your first months rent.

Your security deposit can run as much as 6 months rent in advance. The security deposit, or “key money” is usually 2-3 months rent in advance and although it’s been abolished, some building managers still insist on “gift money” or a bribe to let you move in. Typically this is also 2-3 months rent.

The gift money, you don’t get back and the key money will come back to you but never in total. When you first move in, document every scratch, tear, hole, mark and speck of dust there because otherwise they will come back at you, claim you’re responsible for this and charge you for repairs.

And finally you can live there for about 250,000 yen a month (the average salary for an English teacher) provided you don’t go out every night. You won’t have too much money left over at the end of the month, but you shouldn’t be broke.

Ruth asks…

I’m moving this December to Saint Louis. What are some things I should consider in my neighborhood search?

And this could apply to both, the apartment complex itself OR the actual neighborhod it’s in.

e.g. pet policy
walking distance to convenience store
walking distance to public transportation
Floor preference (1st, 5th, etc)
Crime rate
distance to institution of higher learning
distance to job
distance to shopping center

….and so on

Those are just a few examples of things that are important to renters. What are the other super important (at least potentially) things I ought to consider and determine the importance of?


Administrator answers:

First consider location in relation to your work, shopping, hobby or schools you’ll frequent. I put safety also at the top of my list. I like to ask myself if I feel like I can park there without worrying that my tires will be slashed and if I could walk anywhere safely at night. I also consider the relationship I’ll have with the landlord as in will it be a corp. Office with faceless reps and phone numbers or will it be some retired guy who’ll be right over to fix my needs because he lives in the same town. Price of the rental is huge to me because you’re building no equity-rent money simply vanishes and all you get is a temporary place to exist for a short time frame so you might as well pay as little as possible. This is why I usually spend a week or two of hard searching using all sources of listings available and “interviewing” potential landlords against my wants, needs, the competition and of course versus price. You bring up other important issues like a pet-friendly status and floor preference. Depending on how long you’ll stay you may want to ask about what happens after the lease-if you can go month to month at the same rate or will have to resign a new lease to get the same rate or whatever. If you’re a light sleeper like me you’ll want to check the place out for it’s soundness of construction not only for energy efficiency, cleanliness, etc. But to get a feel for how noisy the neighbors with big feet above you will be when they walk. You’ll also want to check the neighborhood out at night to see what the noise level is. You’ll want to check out the A/C, refrigerator, W/D, etc. To see if they all work half-way decently or you’ll need to expect breakdowns which brings up the issue of timeliness of a landlord to get repairs done. When you move in you should be allowed to do an inspection to write down any defects existing so that they aren’t counted against you when you move out. Some landlords will try to blame you for these things to keep every part of your deposit they can while others will be matter-of-fact and won’t much care unless they see a huge monster issue that’s obviously yours. Good luck, be safe, pay your rent on time, keep in good standing/contact with your landlord throughout your lease and don’t forget to give your 30 day move out notice like your lease will probably tell you to do before you move out.

Maria asks…

Still living with the parents and have no money left?

I am 24 and am still living with my parents, I finished college but can’t find work that pays enough to cover rent for an apartment because I still have an insane amount of tuition bills I am working to pay off right now. Is this normal considering our economy and higher tuition rates or am I doing something wrong here?

Administrator answers:

I’m sorry, but I would not have a 24 year old living at home and paying nothing. You are an adult and you need to be acting like one. You might not be able to find the kind of job you want or one that you went to school for, but you could find a job. You are young – you could work two jobs. You could get a roommate. You could rent an efficiency.

IMHO.. 24 is too old to still be living with mom and dad. I love my sons dearly, but when my oldest turned 21 I told him he was going to have to start paying rent and suddenly he was able to afford an apartment with a roommate. I had already raised him, so to have a grown man living at home with cable, phone, cell phone, groceries, rent, etc for free was a problem for me.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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