A local student was pleased to see that, despite leaving his rented room in a six-room dwelling empty for the last four months, not a single thing had been fixed or repaired by the landlord.
“What a relief!” exclaimed the male after a rousing game of front-lawn flip-cup. “You never know what can happen when you leave for the summer without a sublet. They could come in and make all kinds of changes, but thankfully we avoided that.”
In truth, many others in the city have returned aghast to find repairs of all nature completed over the holiday months. While aesthetically pleasing initially, household repairs can shift very subtle social dynamics and make some housing nearly unlivable.
“A friend of mine had their whole bathroom redone last year,” recalls the man, wincing. “What an ordeal. We went over there and there were all these house rules about trying to keep it from getting wrecked and it really put a downer on things. Eventually they had a big house party, and someone puked cherry kool-aid vodka over everything, which put things back to normal.”
While outsiders would assume that anything less than a perfectly maintained home would be troubling to many, the small damages, imperfections, and untidy corners of their homes, bring a sort of comfort during their hectic student schedules.
“It’s like, I have so much stress at school, so why should I stress about my place too?” asks a local renter. “The peeling paint, hole in the wall, and the faucet knob we replaced with vice-grips are just ways of coping. When suddenly the landlord paints a room, or repairs the drywall, all of a sudden I have to try and care about keeping the place tidy, and I can’t handle that burden on top of my workload.”
Many landlords in the city agree.
“Yeah, no point to doin’ anything.” admits one room renter. “In one of my places I tried fixing it up, and doin’ it right you know? Next thing happens is the kids have a goddamned potluck, which turns into a food fight, which turns into a real fight that damages nearly every wall in the place. After that I just threw up my hands and only did enough to keep the walls standing.”
Others have had varying degrees of success with overcrowding, poor maintenance, or questionable renting practices to keep the places in the comfy shambles expected by the students. As the density of housing continues to increase throughout the central student core, more creative means of degradation may be required.
“Some of these new ones are gonna take some outside-the-box thinkin’ to make sure they’re happy.” explained the landlord. “Otherwise they’re gonna show up to a place that looks brand new out of a magazine, and have themselves a breakdown.”
When pressed, he gave some examples of things which he thought could be coming to rental units in future.
“Well that fire was one of em’, according to the gossip,” He accused. “What better way to make shitty units than to rush construction on a project while also having huge bills to cover? And that same guy, now he’s building a new place that’s way over variance. Dollars to doughnuts he’ll ‘revise’ his plans due to pressure, and make these tiny little places that are so cramped you can’t help busting through the sheet rock.”
While wildly speculative, the man’s feelings were steadfast. “I don’t care if you think it’s bull. What’s true or not true doesn’t matter, what matters is that there’s a race to the bottom for housing in this city, and whoever gets there first is going to line their pockets with the tears of everyone who tried to ‘do it right’ and not cut corners.”