Might as well rent forever.

renter problems

If you didn’t already know, Girl Ninja and I live in an ADU (additional dwelling unit), also known as a mother-in-law apartment. Two summers ago, our Landlord built a huge, I mean HUGE, house. He decided, during the last part of the building phase, to throw on an ADU on the upper back portion of the house. Check out where we live….


Do you see how massive his house is? I mean look at the size of the house to the left…haha.

Our landlord is obviously doing well for himself. He paid cash for this place and by collecting rent from us ($1,175/month, all utilities included) he is able to live free and clear. That’s right, our payments cover his property tax, utilities, homeowners insurance, and cable/internet.

Could you imagine living with out a house related payment?! 

As I was pulling in to our driveway yesterday, he was out in the front yard. We started chatting and he asked how our house-hunting process was going. I let him know that Girl Ninja and I hadn’t even gone and looked at a place in the last 6 weeks due to the Bubble market in Seattle. What’s more, Girl Ninja decided to teach another year at her school (5 minutes away from our pad, 30 minutes away from where we would want to buy). I told him not to worry about us moving out any time soon unless one of three things happens:

  1. Housing inventory picks up dramatically.
  2. We get pregnant.
  3. He raises rent prices on us.

I read horror stories all the time about rising rent prices and how it can devastate a person’s budget. One day you are scraping by with a $1,200/month rent payment, and the next day you’re told that rent is jumping up to $1,500. That would seriously suck.

Girl Ninja and I frequently talk about what we would do if our landlord tried to raise rent on us. We’ve decided if that day ever comes, we would start looking for another place.

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like that will need to happen any time soon. As I shared point three above with our landlord, he immediately cut me off and said “Dude, are you kidding me? I will not raise rent on you guys as long as you’re my tenants.”

That made my heart happy. I laughed and asked him when we could change our month-to-month lease to a ten-year contract. You know I gotta try to lock in that agreement, haha.

I’m not quiet about my extreme fondness of renting. Knowing that for as long as we are here, our rent will never increase, just makes renting that much more amazing. And it makes buying a house even less attractive than it already is#ImRentingForLife

Have you ever dealt with a rent increase? 

p.s. Here’s a picture tour of our tiny little abode 😉

26 thoughts on “Might as well rent forever.”

  1. It is beautiful. Could he reduce your rent if you took over the landscaping or cleaned his house?
    I lived in a small apartment building once and received a break in the rent because I cleaned the hallways and hauled the garbage out of the dumpster and to the curb every week.

    My house insurnace took a major jump last year. My property taxes have gone up this year. Every year something big breaks or needs to be replaced. Sometimes it would be wonderful to not worry about anything and just call someone else when there is a problem.

  2. Wow you guys are lucky!!! $1175 rent including utilities in a place that looks like yours would be unheard of in the state of New Jersey. A place that looks like yours here would be at least 1700 not including utilities. The gas and electric bill alone would be nearly 400 a month. That’s what makes me think I’ll be living in my aunt’s attic forever. With my student loan payment being equivalent to a full 2 weeks pay, I simply can’t afford to live on just one paycheck. I stash what can in hopes that one day I’ll be able to move out but it seems unlikely in the near future. I’ve been hit with every bill you can think of. A good chunk of my 2nd paycheck goes towards food,toiletries, gas and tolls. Public transportation wouldn’t save me much considering it has gone up substantially in this state and also my job is so far out from any public stops it worries me to walk over 30minutes in the dark just to get to work on time. Jersey isn’t the most friendly state so I don’t recommend walking down dark stretches of roads with passing 18wheeler trucks (no sidewalks) and plenty of hiding places for muggers and the like. I’ve cut back as much as I can but the recent restoration of the payroll tax has also taken a good size chunk out of my paychecks as well. Oh well…I’m still getting by and have a little savings to boot so I won’t complain! You guys have a really nice place!

  3. Your place is so cute! I have had rent increases, but only small ones. Still annoying, but not devastating. I am constantly debating renting vs. buying, and for me, the logic tips towards buying when we think of having children (particularly when they’re teenagers).

    We are planning on buying our first house in cash, but even with that, the property taxes, upkeep, and insurance will likely cost annually what we are paying in rent right now. But when we have a couple extra people in the house we’ll want a bigger place and maintaining a home will be cheaper than renting one the size that we’ll need.

  4. The first place I ever rented was a basement apt. when I was 20; the couple was nice enough in the beginning, but it turned out horrible towards the end (I lived there for maybe a year; I gave them no notice when I moved out New Years Eve Day while they were away). Count your blessing for having a great landlord, and your abode is really beautiful!

    Every other apt. I lived in was in a high-rise building, with regulations as to how much my rent could be increased every year (typically $20-$25/month). At time, I miss the care-free world of renting, but I do love our home!

  5. More than decent rent, a yard, a nice kitchen, great view, good relations with your landlord (who wants to keep you every bit as much as you want to keep him – if not more so) – you have no compelling reason whatever right now to make a change. I would do something about that blue thing in the third picture, though. Doesn’t go with anything and looks like a kid’s toy chest. And you could use some art on your walls.

    • Haha. Good catch. The blue chest was for Girl Ninjas kindergarten class and is out of the house. We had just painted it and it was sitting there to dry. And we could definitely use more art!

  6. Why would you move?! I understand your desire to have your own property but your place is beautiful and $1175 isn’t bad at all — especially since all of your utilities are included.

  7. Nice pad man. Yeah I wouldn’t leave either. My mortgage is double what you pay, and only 1/4 of it is actually going toward the principle. You really have to factor in your commute to work when you decide to move, because it is the place that you travel to most often.

  8. How do you even find places like that to live? Are they posted somewhere or did you just find them on cragslist? What a great deal and your place is beautiful…how many bedrooms/baths? I want it 🙂

  9. Gah, it’s so sunny! Hurts my eyes. Where is that soothing rain Seattle is so famous for? There has been a rash of homes being built with an “apartment” inside of it. Good for in laws or older kids, but still to close for general renters. Your landlord is super lucky to have you two, I can understand why he doesn’t want you to leave, but as we both know that time will be coming sooner than you would like. Might as well keep looking, that perfect house might come on the market.

    Owning a home does build equity for future wealth. Most people tend to do it slowly over 30 years, but PF fanatics tend to do it MUCH faster… I never thought I would have my home paid off so quickly, but like your student loan, it can be done.

  10. I’ve never rented from an individual landlord, only in large apartment complexes, so the potential annual rent increases are included in the lease and capped. So I’ve never had an unexpected increase.

    My house payment goes up every year because of increased property taxes and insurance and that’s way more than my rent ever increased!

  11. I just started renting in June myself so never dealt with that but you have a great situation going. I know you happened to run in to your landlord, but would you recommed approaching a landlord directly with concerns about potential rent increases?

  12. That’s awesome you have a cool landlord. I’m sure you’re a good tenant as well. My dad had a place he was renting for $850 for a couple years. In that time, the rent of the other properties went up to $1400 but since my dad was a loyal tenant (paid on time, didn’t destroy anything) his landlord never raised the rent.

  13. I lived in my apartment for 6 years before I had a rent increase, but I’ve had an increase every year since. I’ve lived in the same building for 13 and 1/2 years. Fortunately, rent increases are regulated where I live, so the increases are limited to inflation +2% each year. I’m expecting another increase this fall.

    I’ve had upgrades to my kitchen and a full bathroom remodel in the last couple of years, so I can’t complain too much. Additionally, it’s still way cheaper than buying. Even if I was making 3x my salary, I couldn’t afford to buy, because the housing market where I live is out of control. *sigh*

  14. We’ve moved every time a rent increase was on the horizon. Coincidence? I think not. Actually, a few of those times have lined up with job changes. But we can sense a rent change in a few months with our current landlord. But we’d be peacing out regardless because of our freaking annoying shared wall townhouse neighbor who refuses to turn down his subwoofer.

    This is a major aside, and I know the technology has been around forever now (5-10 years?), but being able to search just about anywhere in the world and then zoom in close enough to be able to draw a square around your ADU is INSANE! Straight from the spy movies we’d watch as kids. And now it’s just sitting in our browser, waiting for us. Amazing times we live in.

  15. I have given rent increases at apartments I used to own. I think it is a disservice to not increase rent even if it is a token amount. Everything increases and rent should keep pace.

  16. I’ve moved every year since 18. (Some of those were long-distance; most were in the same city though.) I have yet to find a good landlord, so you’re both really lucky.

  17. Stay there. Everyone is happy with the situation. Your place is great for the two of you and you are not sold on the real estate in the area at this moment.

    Besides, when time comes to buy you will have more than enough for at least 20% on almost any place you decide to buy.

  18. Honestly, you’ve got a good situation, and should probably stay put.

    You have a very nice place, btw.

  19. As most others have said, it sounds like you are in a good situation and should take advantage of that as long as it fits your needs (location and space). I think too many people rush to buy a house because they don’t want to “throw away money” without really thinking it through.

    And although rent can go up unexpectedly, as others have mentioned, so can property taxes and homeowners insurance, not to even touch on maintenance costs, utilities, etc. In fact, I’ve been pretty annoyed by my home insurance rates, which have increased 73% from 2010 to this year. Sure, it’s only a monetary increase of about $400 annually, but it is pretty ridiculous given that I have had 0 claims. Apparently, my zip code happened to have a higher rate of claims recently.

  20. Your place looks sweet! I love that kitchen. And you have way more art up than we do.

    We move in August because of a rent increase. My husband had been in the same apartment for 5 years with very small increases ($5/month the previous year) and last summer they told us they were hiking our rent by $60/month. That was the last straw rent-wise for us since we felt like we were already paying a lot, so we moved and I think now have a better deal.

  21. I think you have it well off for you location. I have had rent jump on me a few times and it is not cool. That is one reason why I bought a house. If I were in your situation, I would stay for a bit.

  22. I haven’t dealt with rent increase but I am in a similar situation where I’m getting a great deal in a townhome, and I really like my landlord and it’s in a great area. I could see myself renting here for years to come!

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