SUDDENLY, I AM A HOMELESS PERSON. A month ago today, I signed a two-year rental lease on a spacious, sunny garden floor-through a few blocks away from my present home in Boerum Hill. My move date is Thursday, April 30; the movers are due to arrive at 8:30 that morning, and I have been packing for weeks in preparation.
The only problem is, I have no place to move to.
Yesterday morning, April 24, with six days to go, my would-be landlord told me “I can’t let you have the apartment.” Whaaa??? Can a person DO that??!! He said he was on the verge of bankruptcy and had decided to sell the house, and that he had just found out the house is only a legal one-family, and with a tenant in it, he wouldn’t be able to sell.
I don’t know how much of this true or accurate. I suspect I have grounds for a lawsuit. I do know I’m not going to be living there, and I don’t know right now where I am going to be living.
I had some misgivings from the beginning, as the planned renovation was going way too slowly and my security deposit check was never cashed. I had avoided changing my address with the post office or transferring my phone and utilities. Even though the landlord seemed unconventional, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, because I knew I could be happy in that particular space.
Staying here at Dean Street is not an option. New tenants arrive the day I leave. I have spent the past day-and-a-half scouring brownstone Brooklyn for another rental apartment and seen only one, possibly two, I could possibly live in and not want to slit my throat.
One was overpriced with an unfortunate, central kitchen, above (1BR, Park Slope, $2,600) and the other, below (top floor, Henry between Kane and DeGraw, $1,950) was sensational for a young couple but not for me. (I saw both with Marie Schloeder of Halstead Properties, 718 613 2031.)
The end of the month is a lousy time to look. Anything available immediately is more or less the dregs. Perhaps after May 1, for June 1 occupancy, more will open up. If I don’t find something in the next four days, I’ll put my stuff (not an insignificant amount — 35 cartons of books alone) in storage, and couch-surf.
I’m going to keep looking and not make a hasty decision. I’m trying to get my closing date on the Springs cottage moved up from the week of May 10 to a sooner date, and go there. The timing could be worse than early May for a stay in the Hamptons. But I hadn’t planned to live there full-time, even for the summer. I need a Brooklyn base. I need a HOME.
I learned a lot today about what’s out there on the rental market. With a target monthly rent of $2,200-2,300, I looked at places ranging from $1,800-2,600 (I’m working with agents as well as Craigslist, word-of-mouth, “for rent” signs on windows, etc.). I looked at brownstones and pre-war apartment buildings in Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill West. Clinton Hill or Prospect Heights would be fine, too. (I don’t want new construction.)
And what did I see? Dark, claustrophobic garden floors. Once-elegant parlor floors stripped of detail and chopped up into small, illogical rooms. A preponderance of BAD RENOVATIONS. Give me an old funky kitchen over a brand new, cheapo kitchen any day. I’ve never seen so many overly shiny polyurethaned floors and ugly lighting fixtures.
Space is the most important thing to me, I decided — not in the sense of hugeness, necessarily, but appropriate, proportionate, harmonious use of. Light is the next most important. I did see a few bright top floors today, but they felt low-ceilinged and small.
Know of anything? Something like this would be perfect (on Ashland Place in Fort Greene for $1,875, it was gone in 2 hours, as I found out when I arrived yesterday morning at the open house).