Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ascetic Aesthetics

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. With black Friday just past and cyber Monday just coming up, followed by the next month of gift-giving holidays, we’re at the zenith of yearly consumerism in America. Your TV and your computer and pretty much everything else you’ve looked at recently has been telling you to Buy! Buy! Buy!, but here at the Hometown Rant, we’re providing a counterpoint to the voices that want you to fill up your house, apartment or condo with useless junk.

Don’t get us wrong, now could be the perfect time to get that flatscreen or new mattress or really whatever you need or want. All types of places and websites are having great deals on just about anything you need, so if you’re in the market for something in particular, now might be the time. Landlords or property owners could take advantage of sales on appliances or other things that need to be updated in rental properties being renovated. Likewise, tenants looking to take their living space to the next level can do so without breaking the bank.

Here’s what you don’t want to do: buy a bunch of crap that you don’t need just because it’s cheaper than normal. Don’t fall for that classic fallacy that you’re saving $59.95, or however much the ad says. You’re only ‘saving’ money if it was something you were definitely going to buy regardless. Not only is buying useless stuff a great way to rack up debilitating credit card debt, it’s also a good way to crowd your rental property while never seeming to fill up that empty feeling inside. For that you need meaningful human interaction and artistic expression. Not night vision goggles and party shirts for your dog. Ok, the night vision would be cool, but do you really need that? Unless you’re in a Tom Clancy novel, probably not.

If you really want to flip the script on ‘em, you could even try selling things. This might be a particularly good idea for those tenants who buy, say, a new TV, and then need something to do with the old one. It’ll help offset the cost of the new one, and it’ll help keep your house, condo, apartment or duplex free of clutter and looking good. Nothing is worse than moving and remembering that you have a bunch of stuff to deal with that you don’t even use. Now is also a good time to sell stuff, if only because people are buying stuff. Get out on the market and be a good capitalist! It could even pay your rent!

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Sell us on it:


Dishing it Out

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. Happy Thanksgiving! Last week we were talking preparation for turkey day, so it’s only fitting that we now discuss an issue pertinent to your post-thanksgiving problems. That’s right. This week we’re discussing disgusting dishes and washing them. Dishes are an integral part of the cycle of life. They get dirty and then you have to clean them. It’s part of being a civilized human, like cutting your hair and fingernails or brushing your teeth. You can choose not to do it, but eventually you’ll turn into this guy. Don’t do that.

As a property owner, manager or landlord, keep in mind that a dishwasher is one of the main appliances that people are looking for in a rental house, apartment or condo. It’s one of those modern conveniences that makes everything better in the kitchen, so if you want your rental property to be one in high demand, make sure you at least have a functioning dishwasher, if not a nice shiney new one. Not only will it be a selling point, but it’ll help your tenants keep the property spic and span so you have less upkeep to do when they move out.

As a tenant in any property, you’re going to be the one dealing with the dishes on a day-in day-out basis, and it’s your job to keep on top of it. Part of this is keeping on top of roommates who may not like to clean up after themselves, since one of the first places this tendency will manifest itself is in the sink. It’s ok to save some pots and pans for after you’ve eaten dinner, but you actually have to go back and wash them, or you’ll end up with a two week-old stack that’s got things growing at the bottom. Every new dish you put on top of the pile just compounds the nastiness for whoever has to buckle down and roll up their sleeves, which will probably be you eventually. Make it easy on yourself and clean up as you cook so you don’t have things to worry about later.

For events like thanksgiving, depending on the level of class you’re going for and the size of the gathering you’re hosting, you might consider getting disposable plates and silverware for the occasion. It’s not as sustainable, won’t look as nice and granny might be disappointed that you haven’t brought out the fine china, but it’ll save you a lot of time if you’re cleaning up after 20+ people’s post-feast messes. That might be a fair trade if you value your sanity and several layers of skin on your hands. You could also enlist the inevitable hordes of children that come around to be your indentured dishwashers for a few hours, though that might be easier said than done. Whatever you decide to do, have a happy holiday, and remember to keep it clean.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Let us know:

Turkey Days

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. That special time of year is coming up again. You know, the one where your whole extended family comes over for a few days and trashes the place? That’s right. It’s almost thanksgiving, and whether you’re the lucky host or one of the in-law horde come to feast, the Hometown Rant has the guide for you.

As renters, only agree to host a huge thanksgiving dinner if you have enough space in your rental property. A tiny studio apartment probably won’t cut it if you have more than a few cousins bringing their families too. The ideal property for a good thanksgiving is a house with a big kitchen and a big dining room, so keep that in mind when planning, though if you haven’t started making plans yet you should probably get on that, or risk spending thanksgiving alone with one of these. Please, please don’t do that.

Likewise, if people are actually sleeping over in your house, apartment or condo, make sure that you have the space to accommodate them. The point of thanksgiving is to see your family and catch up, not to grow to hate them and share the flu over a several day period. It’s tough, but you may have create a hierarchy within your family to decide who gets beds. Don’t be afraid to ask your third cousin and ex-step uncle to get hotel rooms if you just don’t have the space.

Cooking the meal itself is a whole ‘nother animal as well, or two more if you’re making a turducken. If you’re the type of family where everyone considers themselves a master chef, you’re going to want to communicate between people so you all have the space and time to make the dishes you want, and so you don’t end up with four different stuffing dishes and no pie. That’s how dinner table fights start.

Also, if you’re a true American hell bent on deep frying your turkey (which for the record we absolutely endorse) please, for the love of god, do it outside. Every year there are families that watch their rental property go up in a huge grease fire instead of eating a delicious meal. Don’t be those guys. Fry safe, and make sure to dispose of your oil properly afterwards.

As a landlord or property manager, you should keep in mind that many of your tenants will have people coming to stay, and remind them of any rules pertinent to the property. For instance, if the number of parking spaces at your property is limited, or if you live in an apartment or condo with designated spaces in a communal lot, you should make it clear that it won’t work to have an armada of guests clogging up the whole street.

Above all else though, take the time to appreciate the people around you and the home that you have, even if you’ve traveled from it to be somewhere else. And if you need any reminding of what it’s all about, just watch this.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Let us know what you think:

The Rental’s Underground

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about the foundations that this great nation was built on. No, it’s not freedom and justice for all. It’s basements. Basements come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re fortified to withstand a nuclear blast and sometimes don’t even exist at all, but whatever type of basement your house, duplex, cabin, condo or apartment has (or doesn’t have) we’ve got you covered.

Seeing as how they often add a whole extra floor’s worth of space to a rental property, basements are often a great selling point for landlords and property owners looking to advertize. Finished basements are even better, since they potentially allow renters to fit another person in the house, but if you’re advertising it as such, make sure you’re not overcrowding the house, and that the living space is up to local fire safety codes. Otherwise you could be legally and morally responsible for people getting injured and/or killed. Nobody wants that.

Unfinished basements are also a good selling point, either for storage space or as a potential area for tenants to work out or make space for a hobby studio or workshop of some sort. Tenants who want to do something along these lines with a basement space should absolutely consider it, though as always you should get the landlord or property manager’s consent to make permanent modifications to the space.

Unfortunately, sometimes basements can be a liability. Especially in wetter areas of the country, basements are prone to flooding. This is always a problem, but severity can range from inconvenient to potentially life threatening. Tenants should let landlords know if a flood has occurred, and landlords or property managers should have some sort of plan in place for if and when it happens. Usually it’ll involve some fans and de-humidifiers, but bad floods can ruin carpet, and really bad floods left unchecked can rot out beams that hold your rental property up. Don’t let that happen. Get it dried up ASAP.

Then there are the properties without basements–the single stories, ranch-style houses, the condos and apartments for rent. As always, it’s important to tailor your living situation to the type of lifestyle that you lead.  Properties without basements are probably good for those individuals that enjoy a certain degree of minimalism–the people who don’t have boxes upon boxes of sentimental objects and outdoor equipment to store somewhere. If you’re the type who could live out of a single bag if you had to, consider looking for a rental property without a basement–it’ll probably be cheaper, and you won’t miss the space. On the other hand, If you’re the type who owns a massive collection of model trains or comic book and pulp fiction or sports memorabilia, steer clear of rental properties that don’t have the underground vault you need to store your tacky pile of treasures.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll be in the basement: