The Reality of Having to Move Eight Times

I’ve been fortunate enough to have never lived in a truly bad neighborhood or building. Still, I have been on the wrong side of gentrification and been forced to move twice after my landlords decided to sell the building they were renting me an apartment. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that I only had to move eight times over five years, but at the time, it felt like too many times. Despite my recent experience, some people stay in one place their entire lives; others move around quite a bit. I’ve found that the former group is more likely to own things like homes or cars, while the latter can’t afford them due to all the moves. I’m not sure which option is better; it depends on your situation and preferences. But I am sure of one thing: living with less makes moving easier (and cheaper).

Finding Homes When You Have No Credit

When you have no credit, it can be difficult to find a landlord to rent you an apartment. One common solution for building credit without having an established line of credit is renting your place. This way, you take responsibility for paying your rent on time each month and establish a positive payment history. Once you have secured an apartment, buy some used furniture from Craigslist or Goodwill and list it in a separate lease agreement with your landlord.

These will allow you to establish a positive rental history when there isn’t one already on file. You can also offer to pay extra money upfront to be held accountable if you do not renew your lease. Or perhaps offer a small security deposit. Whatever method you choose, make sure it’s guaranteed so that if something does happen, at least there will be accountability all around. Hopefully, landlords are more likely to consider giving someone without prior credit a chance to be responsible.

Finding Affordable Rentals

I’ve been very lucky in my ability to stay at each place for two years or more, but not everyone is so fortunate. When I started searching for new places, I was shocked by how difficult it had become. Apartment sizes are shrinking while prices are rising—overall, rent has increased significantly over the past decade. If you’re looking for a home that isn’t just temporary housing, moving is an inconvenient necessity that comes with many costs. Renters have fewer rights than homeowners—and they have no rights if they break their lease early—which means that finding affordable rentals can be tricky. However, there are some strategies you can use to make things easier on yourself when you have to move again. A good first step is to get familiar with your local rental market; websites like Zillow and Trulia can help you see what’s currently available.

Once you know what rental rates are like, start researching neighborhoods and apartment complexes where your target price range might be achievable.

To save money on your next move, consider these options:
Often renters plan out one year instead of signing long-term leases; that leaves room for change later on down the road.

What It's Like Moving Often

In addition to travel, I’ve spent a lot of time moving in recent years. At one point, in 2013 and 2014, I moved seven times within a single year—and that was a light year. Since then, in five years, I have moved eight times. Most people don’t spend that much time on an airplane; most Americans don’t move more than three times in their adult lives.

That said, over half of all renters do move every two years or less. This is not so surprising when you consider that rent prices have been skyrocketing over the past 10 years: there were 50 percent more renters than homeowners in 2017—the highest level since 1965. Because many employers don’t pay for relocation costs, young professionals are forced to pack up everything they own and find a new place to live each time they relocate for work. And often won’t find anything suitable close by—often, it’s only from city-to-city moves. The average house lasts 91 years, but today’s renter spends around 21 months at their residence before moving again.

Home prices have grown at an annualized rate of 5% over the last century, while rent has grown 8%. It may seem like renters are getting a bad deal compared with those who buy homes, but as economist Robert Sheller points out, home price appreciation is temporary. At the same time, progressive inflation makes rents steadily higher as well as adjusting for inflation.

Rent Laws Around the World

There are different types of rent laws in different countries worldwide, but in general, when you sign a lease for an apartment, you’re signing an agreement stating that you will pay rent at a specific rate for a certain amount of time. Your rights and your landlord’s rights under these contracts vary significantly by country. For example, in New York City, it is very difficult to evict tenants due to their leases; however, in France, it can be done fairly easily if there is a cause.

Each contract is different depending on where you live, so what kind of protections do your local laws afford?
How hard is it really to get out of an apartment lease?
Knowing your rights and responsibilities before taking an apartment might save you money or heartache down the road. This knowledge could also help you negotiate with landlords who aren’t sticking to their end of the bargain! For example, in some parts of Australia, you have three months from signing a rental agreement to move into your new place—if they haven’t delivered on their promises within those three months, you can give notice without penalty.

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