Frustrating rules/conditions for room rental

Last year when I moved, I got very lucky and got the place I lived in for only $475/month, utilities included. It also came with 2 tolerable roomates and an awesome landlord who talked me into applying for the job I currently work in. He was very laid back on rules and most of the stuff was simply ‘common sense’.

Imagine my dismay when I found out I had to move (he sublets and the owner is selling). Even worse, the selection of rooms for rent isn’t nearly as nice as it was before. I guess because of all the morgage crisis stuff there’s a greater demand for rental property, because many of the places seem to be 100 bucks/month more expensive than last year. Not only that, but the places I’ve checked out (and its been a lot- I take the shotgun approach to both dating and housing) all have numerous trade-offs with each other; either its a nice place but there are a gazillion rules/restrictions, or its a dump with a laid-back attitude. Obviously I was trying to find some comprimise between the two, but its complicated by the fact that I don’t want to find a place at the last minute- rather I would prefer to find somewhere as early on as possible so I can start moving, and get the whole thing over with. The place I settled on has two main perks- the room is 2.5x bigger than my current one, and is 5 mins away from work. The downsides-

-No internet :confused:
-No kitchen; the roomate cooks food in the bathroom :dubious:
-Washing machine/dryer is Coin-op, yet the landlord charges utilities :mad:

Unfortunately this was the best combination of location, size, and price I could find. Please tell me I’m not the only one that has to resort ot living in these conditions.

…and yes, I did consider getting a whole apartment, but right now its much more economical for me to keep renting a room since apartments around here tend to rent at 2x what a room rental would charge. By living modestly, I can get on top of my credit card debt (which I have been this past year so far).

“No internet” sounds reasonable - I haven’t ever had a landlord provide it.

I’ve also been charged for utilities while using coin-op laundry - it covered the heating and electricity and water I used for everything other than laundry, too.

The lack of a kitchen is a completely different story. I would never live in such a situation because I cook every day, but YMMV. Mostly I’d be worried about the fire hazard involved in roommates cooking in the bathroom - does the fire department know?

I’m afraid I may not have much to offer, but perhaps answers to my questions will help others who do.

Why are rules/conditions/restrictions mentioned in the title (suggesting it’s an important point) and once in the message (reinforcing that notion) then totally ignored? What sorts of rules, conditions, and restrictions are you talking about? Your message gives no clue whatsoever to this.

Why is the combination of coin-op washer and separate charge for utilities mentioned so as to suggest some sort of inconsistency or contradiction? What does one have to do with the other? Utility fees are for electric, water, and gas. I don’t see where paying for those means that laundry facilities are included*. Apples and oranges.

*Yes, laundry uses electricity and water (and maybe gas), but utility fees cover the use of these for heat, A/C, lights, appliances, drinking and bathing water - things that are part of living in the room. The use of laundry machines is not considered a utility.

How in hell is there no kitchen–is that even a legal living space? Is this a room rental in a house but no kitchen privs or actually a place that does not physically contain a kitchen?

One option you might consider for the future is locating a 2BR apt., leasing it, then recruiting a roommate to your own terms and conditions. This becomes more feasible once you have a steady job. It does have some risks, like any roommate situation, but puts you somewhat more in control of setting the groundrules. It works best to pick a place that you would be capable of paying the full rent on by yourself if you had to go a few months between roommates.

In my area, it is legal to rent a room without use of the kitchen. It is NOT legal to cook anywhere but in a kitchen.

When we ran the rooming house, getting people to put away their microwaves & hotplates before a scheduled inspection was very hard. Twice we were fined because the inspector opened the door to find someone cooking.

The house that the rooms are in is partitioned off. One half is occupied by the landlord, containing a master bedroom w/bathroom, living room, family room, and kitchen, and the other half has 3 rooms and a bathroom. The tenants do not have access to the landlord’s half of the house.

I don’t like the idea of paying utils and having a coin-op laundry because I’m paying for the electricity/water for something I’m getting charged to use on top of that. In theory the utility bills shouldn’t be that high at all because there’s no AC or really any common areas to have energy-sucking appliances, short of whatever each tenant has crammed in his/her room.

Here in silicon valley, 90% of the places I checked out had free wireless DSL/cable internet. The last 2 places I lived in had it and I didn’t have to pay a dime for it.

Re: rules, a common one is no overnight guests, one i’m not fond of in particular. There are other places that don’t allow guests period, charge more rent for using the kitchen, don’t allow certain foods, have washing machine/dryer but don’t allow tenants to use it, etc. Also places that had ‘preferences’ for tenants, even though I heard thats illegal (oh to be a single asian woman, I could rent any room in the county!) Also places that had a ‘curfew’ barring coming/going after 10PM/before 6AM (kind of hard when you have a job that has odd hours; driving a bus isn’t exactly a 9-5 kind of gig).

I don’t mean to sound callous, but dude, you live in Silicon Valley. California. Have you considered moving? Here there’s a glut of apartments and houses for rent, due to both the non-selling houses that eventually need to be rented out plus the (theorized) mass exodus of illegals since new laws went into effect. And, it was only 107 today… quite lovely. What’s keeping you?

YMMV, but being close to work could make up for a lot of downsides, in my book. If you are 5 minutes away on foot or by bike, you are saving a lot compared to what you’d spend on mass transit/car usage.

OTOH, do you have access to any kind of refrigeration? No refrigeration would be a deal-killer for me. No kitchen is one thing (I lived quite tastily for a year with just a crockpot in my room), but it is hard to be thrifty without a fridge, because you can’t keep leftovers or do the basic cooking that a crockpot/microwave allow.

What about a studio apartment? Sounds like you can live comfortably in a small space, plus they always have kitchens, and rarely come with roommates. Plus, the advantages of living alone are wonderful.

To answer a few questions-

-I really like my job so far, as mundane as it might sound (bus driver) because in spite of the stereotypes about that kind of job it actually is pretty decent for what I do. In addition it pays surprisingly well with good benefits and plenty of opportunity for advancement in the future. So I’m pretty set on staying in the area.

-There is at least a fridge in the very small common area between rooms. Roomate #2 was nice enough to shift her own foodstuffs over to make room for mine-giving me exactly 50% of the fridge space (divided right down the middle! :stuck_out_tongue: ). I guess the other roomate doesn’t use it at all. Given the season I will probably try to eat plenty of seasonal fruits, and anything else I can make ‘dinner’ out of that requires minimal/no heating.

-The proximity to work was a big selling point for me, and in fact the other day another roomate there was telling me the previous tenant was another bus driver from the same yard I work in. My plan is to bike to work every day, figuring the savings in gas will likely offset the difference in rents.

-I did consider a studio apartment, but many studio apartments would be 2x what it would cost to rent a room. In the past 2 places I lived, relaxed rules meant that even though I was just renting a room, I felt like I was ‘living’ in a house, which to me was a good deal based on my needs. The next place I move is likely going to be a studio apartment, or possibly even a trailer home (my work lets employees park trailer homes in the parking lot, though I’m not certain how they work out things like electricity/water/etc)

Well, you can look at it that way, but the way I see it is that the coin-op means you’re paying to use the machine itself. As far as the utilities aspect, if you’re paying a flat rate for utilities, that rate was calculated without including the significant water and electric usage of those particular devices. If you’re paying a portion of the actual bills, then even if you owned your own washing machine and dryer, you’d still be paying for the extra water and electric to operate them. I don’t see it as a double charge for the same thing, but as an extra charge for something additional.

I agree, those suck.

IANAL, but I don’t think anti-discrimination laws apply to someone renting out a bedroom in their own home (as opposed to an apartment or house).

From my time selling newspaper advertising, I recall that it depends on the exact living arrangement. For example, this post describes something where the renters and the landlord have no shared living space. From what I recall, the antidiscrimination laws would apply to that. It’s my understanding they don’t apply if you are both renters sharing an apartment or if the renter and the owner share a home with common areas.

However, if a commercial entity is involved, like a paid advertisement or a property management company, their legal department will probably be extra cautious and want nothing to do with a potentially discriminatory ad. For example, the newspaper wouldn’t want to run the risk since it doesn’t have time to verify if there is or is not shared living space.

Also, local laws may be stricter than federal law, and the OP is in California, which may well have stricter laws.