Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Los Feliz to Los Feliz

You know my big plan to rent an apartment?

I didn't get very far. I quickly learned that the studios I thought were acceptably priced ($1200-1400 or so) had something wrong with them. They overlooked a parking lot and were dingy. They seemed really dilapidated. I saw one that was pretty good, but was on the ground floor, and I remembered from my first 8th Street place that you can't sleep with the windows open on the ground floor.

And I learned too that no one calls you back, because why should they? There are dozens of applicants for anywhere reasonably priced. It's a seller's market, and we're all grasping at scraps.

I understand now I'm going to have to pay a lot more to live in Los Angeles, but because I haven't found the right place yet, I rustled up another sublet for a month on It was a nice-looking back house in Toluca Lake, and all was going well until the owner sent me the contract.

"We do not accept credit cards at this time."

Hmmm. That's odd, I thought. The last place, the excellent place in Los Feliz, sent me a bill along with the contract and I was able to pay it online. This contract said to pay by check.

I wrote the owner back and asked if he wanted me to bring him a check the next day.

"Cash only, or cashier's check or money order."

Wha--? I was taken aback. With a personal check, at least I had a few days to cancel it if he gave me the keys and they didn't work the next day or something. At least there is a slim margin of error in case Internet guy is a con artist.

I decided not to sign it yet. I went to sleep instead.

In the morning, the owner called me at my office.

"Did you get the contract?"

"Yes, but it's a little weird you don't take credit cards."

His tone changed completely. He was suspicious. "What do you mean by that?"

"Well...just that there is security for the consumer with a credit card."

"So you'd dispute a charge."

I have no idea how we went so quickly into him thinking I'm a con artist. I thought I was talking to a man I'd never met about an Internet transaction for an apartment I'd never seen, and suddenly I'm the bad guy for trying to look out for myself.

"Well, no, but it's for my protection in case we have a disagreement."

"I don't think we can do business then."

I let him have it, saying something along the lines of "You've set this up so there you have all the power and there are no protections for me, and any business transaction is a two-way street, not about one person holding all the power."

Anyway, needless to say, I found myself homeless. I spent the rest of the day on AirBnB, and dredged up a shack under the Burbank Airport flight path for four days.

And I was grateful for the shack. It wasn't any worse than a lot of places I've stayed, the linens were clean, and it was available when I was desperate, because I'd had no luck on Priceline or with an affordable hotel. I wasn't sorry to leave it, though, and driving everywhere in a rental car got tired quickly.

I'm in one of Nuel's places now. She's a businesswoman with a few properties. I'd spoken to her months ago when I'd first thought about coming out here, but hadn't followed up until now. Her places are excellent, and I'm in this one until September 2, when I go home for Labor Day weekend.

And yes, I still need a place for after that. But you know what? I've been a transient before. Many times. I'll be okay.

No comments: