Rental Royale – Life Without Rent Control

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Lately we’ve been on the lookout for a new house/apartment to rent. We received notice that our current rent was going up $500 (25%). That’s a huge rental increase so we decided to look for something else. Boy, is it a bad time for renters?! Having no rent control in the area, landlords are trying to get as much as possible and doing little to no work on the property.

For example, one place we went to look at turned out to be a dump. During the open house, there were empty bottles in the planter-box lining the front of the house, broken trim with raw wooden edges sticking out, doors that wouldn’t open, and even dirty, raised toilet seats! Come on, if you want people to pay $1800 for a place can’t you at least put in a tiny bit of effort into making it presentable?! Plus, these places are OLD! Nothing has been upgraded since they were built in the thirties. Forget the granite countertops, dual-paned windows, or FiveStar Ranges. To even have a garbage disposal or stove with a hood would be luxury.

There was one place we were very interested in renting. It was old but there was a good amount of space and was located in a nice area. We submitted all our paperwork only to find out we were one of four applicants being considered. The owner narrowed it down to two families and we were one of them. Then, we got a call from the property manager asking, “How much are you willing to pay?” What? They wanted us to bid on the rent like you would when buying a house?! Keep in mind that the only things the owner was willing to do was barely the minimum (i.e. painting 80% of the interior, fixing faucets that were currently wrapped with cloth and duck tape, etc.). So, since more than one person was interested the owner wanted us to compete to see who would pay more every month to RENT.

Yeah, right…

We’ve already dealt with greedy landlords and that did NOT go well. So, we pulled out. I wonder if they told the other interested party we were no longer in the running and gave the place to them for the advertised price. Or, did they charge them the amount they said that they were ‘willing to pay’ just to drain as much mula out of them as possible.

Fortunately, the place we are in now negotiated to only raise our monthly rent by 10% and that’s at least doable for us. So we’ll be staying where we are for now. We may have to consider buying a house but doing so in the SF Bay Area of California is a whole other story!

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About Author

TerriAnn van Gosliga is the main writer at Cookies & Clogs and Driving Mamas. Born & raised in the SF Bay Area but loves to travel. She's been married to her best friend for 15 years, homeschools her 14-year-old daughter, and has an accident-prone lab mix dog.


  1. I did not want to read this. We’re in Redwood Shores and are preparing to renew our lease with our landlord and have no idea what to expect for rent increase. 25% would be outrageous! We’ll see what happens.

    • I’m sorry, Erin. I didn’t mean to alarm you. We are in a corporate-owned place so it’s all about money. I hope your landlord is more concerned with keeping good tenants than filling his/her pocket book!

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