Thursday, February 18, 2010

Necessities: Housing

I moved into this 400-square foot bachelor apartment on October 19, 2002. It suits me just fine and is quite a nice, bright bachelor apartment, as such units go. It's also in a neighbourhood and community I've become used to. So I'd choose to stay here, except for three considerations.

First, it's on the third floor of a three-floor walk-up.

Pulling my shopping cart up 36 stairs, having already pulled it up a steep hill on the way home from getting groceries, is increasingly harder to do given my hip and back problems.

I would choose and have requested to move one floor down. Moving to the second floor would be almost as good as moving to the first floor. The latter doesn't have bachelor apartments anyway and I can't afford more than I'm paying now (which is already 80% of my income). The first floor is sub-basement, so you still have to navigate stairs. To reach the front door of the building, you walk up nine stairs. The first or second floor is another nine stairs, down or up. The advantage of the first floor is the back entrance; it has only five shallow stairs going down to the sub-basement entry.

All this is moot. My landlord won't allow me to move to another unit while keeping my rent the same. I'm currently paying $486 per month; new renters are paying $575 per month for bachelor units. That's what he insists I pay if I should move. It doesn't matter that I've been an ideal tenant, never late with my payments and so quiet people have said they didn't know my unit was occupied. In fact, the clear message from my landlord is that he'd rather take his chances on a troublesome, higher-paying tenant than keep tenants known to be reliable and trouble-free.

That brings up the second concern. How secure is this place for me, in terms of continued occupancy? Might my landlord try to jack up the rent anyway? What might he do otherwise to 'persuade' me to move out?

A third consideration is the absence of a place to keep an electric bicycle or scooter, two-wheeled or four-wheeled. There's nothing outside or on the ground floor, secure or otherwise, or with plug-in access. I anticipate needing something like that in the future in order to get around.

I'd not be so anxious to find a subsidized unit in a more accessible, secure building - not with SAFER, in another few months, starting to help me with the rent here - if the extra stairs weren't causing me problems and this building offered secure, ground-floor storage and plug-in options.

I don't really want to move. Regardless, I may have no choice but to stay. Private subsidized or public housing projects in BC are rare, which is another housing issue for people with special needs. Since I'll always need an animal companion, my housing options are thus even further limited.

Two subsidized housing places that allow pets came to my notice over the past year; one, thanks to a reader. I've applied to both but have heard back from only one of them, confirming receipt of my application and advising I'm on their list. Both would be nice places to live, so that's where my hopes lie now.


Daphne Moldowin said...

Hopefully, the two possible choices of locating elsewhere will remain within visiting distance, for selfish moi.

Kim said...

That is fucking criminal! You can edit it if you want, but that is how I feel about this. I wish I had a place for you Chrystal but just the fact that I would help you precludes me from having the resources to do so. Fucking government!