Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Studio Apts For Rent

June 20, 2012

Ruth asks…

How can get my dad to spend money on his apts?

I’ve been managing my dad’s five apartments for about two years now. When I started he had two deadbeat tenants and they both left owing him over $3000 each. He’s had numerous other bad tenants like this and he’s lost over $12,000 in unpaid rent just in the last few years and at least another $10,000 or so from having run down vacant apts.

I’ve been working with him on getting the apartments fixed up so we can get better rents and better long term tenants in the building. We’ve reworked three apartments so far and upped the rents by an average of $100 per unit. I’ve had to really push for him to do the upgrades but he is SLOWLY figuring out that we do better in the long run when the carpets aren’t 15 years old and soaked through with mold.

Now every unit has good tenants except for one that we are upgrading again. We’re working on installing a Washer/Dryer in the apt so I can bump the rent up by another $50/month. It was renting for $350(!) incl. when I started and it’s renting for $450 now, and I think with the washer I can get $500 easy with the washer/dryer.

But now my dad is being cheap again. He says we don’t have to put in hot water for the washing machine because he doesn’t use it for his own laundry. He says if the tenant wants hot water, they can fill up a bucket for the washer. I’m showing the apt and I get a commission for finding a new tenant, but I hate having to say, “Well there’s a new washer, but there’s no hot water for it.” Now instead of bumping the rent up by $50, I think the most I can get is $25 extra. I also think it will take long to find a tenant for it. It’s just a studio so whoever is there would be doing one load of wash a week at the most– basically the same as an extra shower a week.

It’s this kind of thing that is costing him a couple thousand bucks a year or more. He won’t replace a 15 year-old stained carpet and then an apt sits empty for four months. Lot’s of things look ratty because he never upgrades. He will spend four hours repairing a rusty 30 year old washer so it will run for another month or so. He doesn’t get that shiny new fixtures mean more rent than crappy old ones that could have been tossed 10 years ago. If I can’t rent the empty unit this month, then he is also out another $500. That pays for a lot of loads of laundry with hot water.

How can I convince my dad not to be such a cheapskate??
At least I finally got him to give me final say on new tenants. He almost rented one of our best apt to this guy who looked like a total drug addict. He had talked to my dad when I was out of town, but when he came by to ask about the lease I talked to him and he was stoned out of his mind. Then I found out from one of my other tenants that the guy knew about the apartment because he was best friends with the two deadbeats I had just evicted!!

Here is a good tip for all you landlords out there. If a prospective tenant has a crappy car and $100 sneakers, they are prob not a good risk.

Administrator answers:

You sound smart and convincing but if you cant do it nobody will change him. I have a grandpa the same way spend five dollars to save a dime. Maybe he should sell them to you so they will be run properly

Mark asks…

Living in NYC /thinking longterm planning?

After a lengthy research and calculation i really have to ask this question to residents of NYC primarily manhattanites.
How do you save and invest and plan for retirement.
1st off a decent(good location,good amenities) 1 bedroom ,even at rent stabilized rate is around $1600(price of a really awesome home in many cities).With the experts suggesting spending no more than 25% on housing so that means your take home pay would be 6400(equals $130,000) real salary.So how does average joe making 50,000 do it?Really i want to know.After looking at craigslist for apartment i got sooo depressed like locking up little birds in a cage(studio apts),it’s not like the movies that’s for sure

Administrator answers:

No, it isn’t like the movies or tv at all. I think most people are shocked about the reality of living in NYC. The truth is most people making under $100,000 live in other boroughs or NJ. A few manage to squeak out on less in Manhattan but, I have no idea how they manage.

To live the true NYC lifestyle, you’ll need a good job which usually means you’re educated beyond a bachelor’s (4 year degree) or have serious connections to move you up the corporate ladder or you made a success of your own business or you have a serious trust fund.

If you can find a rent controlled apartment, then you have a shot – otherwise, look else where for housing. Brooklyn, Queens, NJ and Staten Island DO make good alternatives.

William asks…

Electricity bill for a person living on their own.?

So I’m looking to live in a studio for the first time. A lot of them include all utilities in the rent except for the electricity bill. So I was wondering, how much does it cost for one person usually to pay for electricity a month?
Also, the water bill? (some apts don’t include that either)

Administrator answers:

Well for me and my wife in a four bedroom house we pay about 185.00 a month but during the summer last year we disconnected a lot of stuff we never used like the freezer in the garage and switched all of our bulbs to florescent started shutting the computer off at night and got a lot of energy saver fans instead of the AC and we now pay about 65.00 a month so its all in how you use your electricity and remember the hotter the shower you take the more electricity you use also even if it is a gas water heater it takes electricity to light the gas same with a dryer and washer

John asks…

where is the best place to live in LA?

if you are professional, quiet, but want to be central near grocery stores, starbucks, but nearby studios and everything that is happening.

id like to be somewhat near the airport, but not where airplanes are flying over me.

safe with not too much crime.

i can pay 2000 for rent. looking for 2 bedroom. does anyone know of any good apts for that much that dont attract bad ppl?


Administrator answers:

You are clearly describing Santa Monica. Try the neighborhood closest to the ocean north of Wilshire. You can walk to a lot of places – you are close to the airport and the studios in West LA, and you are super cool because you live in Santa Monica (plus its under rent control)!

Lisa asks…

can this be accomplish by at least next year?

I’m turning 19 tommorrow!! and I live in Louisiana, I’d like to move to the Pensicola,FL area (4hrs away) since I like it there alot and somewhat familiar to the area, I thought it would be a good way to get outta this place(it sux), escape from problems just start over in a better place in mind. basically kill alot of birds with one stone lol but I live with my grandparents have a job paying around $750 a month. and I did some research and I found some apts. here a some I have in mind as an idea

does this sound like a possible goal to set and save for a year aroundvance? is this more realistic or daydreaming? if so how long should I wait?

Administrator answers:

A good question to ask yourself at this stage is how much can you make in Pensacola? Is the cost of living comparable?

I’d like to see you have at least $2,000 when you get there (moving expenses not included) before you make this move. Try to have a job lined up, even if it is just temporary. I think it is easier to get a job when you have a job. The money can go fast when there is none coming in.

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