Being a college student comes with its disadvantages. One of these is renting rooms. For most of us the reality of college is being away from our family and not having enough money to pay high rent for housing. California is especially expensive.
For the last 8 years, I have been renting rooms. I have gone from community colleges to universities like CSUN. I have traveled from Northern California to Southern California. I have gone from waiting tables to working at taco stands.I have rented these “rooms for rent” in numerous college towns across the state.
In the past 8 years, websites such as Craigslist, which serve as the housing bible for out-of-towners and college students, have materialized on the internet. The website has grown from Silicon Valley all the way to Africa. A renter can find a room anywhere in the world now with this virtual bulletin board.
Obviously, this website is not the only way a person can rent a room. Newspapers, word of mouth, and other websites are also listing classifieds across the state.
Rooms for rent seem like the perfect alternative to dealing with a smelly roommate in the dorms. Furthermore, most of the rooms for rent include all the utilities, upkeep of the house and internet. Ideally when renting a room, a renter does not have to be bothered with all the responsibilities of the home.
However, if I could do it all over again I would not rent rooms. I have ended up in small claims court because a roommate owed me money. I ultimately lost because I did not have a receipt (always keep your receipts!). I had my friend’s parents throw a bag of cat poop in my room because I was not there to clean the litter box like I should have.
At the beginning of the semester I answered an ad on Craigslist which advertised a room for rent in an apartment with one other person. I hurriedly paid the guy since it’s nearly impossible to find places in L.A. I drove from out of state to my new place in the San Fernando Valley to find my new roommate high, paranoid and on edge.
To make matters worse it was a one bedroom and he was living in the living room. He was renting out the only bedroom and it didn’t even have a door! The hallway which led to my doorless room was the only bathroom in the house. We had to share of course. I guess you can’t be picky when renting rooms but things are not always advertised as they really are.
My most recent room mishap is where I am staying now. When I moved in it seemed perfect. People were nice, rent was affordable and there were other girls my age there. The only problem was the house was ice cold. January and February in L.A. can sometimes get chilly and this was no exception. However, the temperature outside was warmer than in the large five bedroom freezer of a house.
One day I noticed that the reason it was so cold was that the heater was not even plugged in. One of the girls and I plugged it in. Big mistake. The next day not only was it back to freezing but there was a huge bike chain and padlock over the heater.
So for $500 a month I have to sit huddled in my bed to keep warm while the rain pounds hard against the icy window. Is it worth it? I think not.
I guess I am still thankful that I have a room and am not homeless, but the price is high and the rules are steep for staying out of the rain.
Virginia George can be reached at email@example.com.