First of all, this is partially due to my mate Calyo writing a blog post about the subject, but I feel I need to talk about it as well.
Me and my mates, Calyo and Sildrae, are moving near the end of next month. We considered all options, but after so many dead ends and uncertainties, we decided to (temporarily) move in with my parents back in Fort Smith, Arkansas. This is mostly to get us back on our feet, until we can figure out where to go next.
Why move? Three reasons.
Reason 1: Rules at our current place
The place we’re staying at has recently undergone yet another management shift, and with it, new rules governing what we can and cannot do at home. This includes:
- Can’t have anything but patio furniture visible outside of the home from the street—including BBQ grills, and even the trash bin.
- Vehicles that are unregistered, inoperable, or have expired registration aren’t allowed in the community. They also require vehicles with oil or gas leaks to be repaired immedately.
- In regards to the second point, they do not allow car repairs to be done in the driveway, meaning that your only option is to pay someone else to repair, or to have a garage.
- They inspect “home conditions, broken windows, broken blinds (yes, the fucking blinds), missing window screens, missing house numbers, and needed painting or repairs”. They expect even renters to take care of this, from what I can tell.
- They require residents to handle tree and shrub trimming on top of lawn care, and will charge the renter/owner fees if they have to call out someone to handle it. However, you have to get approval to remove a tree or shrub, or to do anything to the exterior of your home.
Now, as a note about the blinds, they require the cheap white blinds, and will not allow you to use anything else, even blackout blinds for those who work at night. Yes, they are that anal about it.
These people have become far worse than a Homeowners Association, and reinforce why most HoAs are unwelcome in the town I grew up in.
Also, I don’t mean to sound racist, ever since the change to a mostly Hispanic staff, I’ve noticed that a lot of non-Hispanic families have left. Most of the African-American and Caucasian families I used to see around the community just haven’t shown up lately, and I’m worried that, like our previous location (Avesta Aguve Falls), there seems to be a bit of bias towards catering to Hispanic families.
Reason 2: Rent Prices
From Calyo’s blog, since she said it best:
It’s basically impossible to find anywhere in Austin with a cost per square foot comparable to where we are living now, in a 53-foot manufactured home that we’re currently renting for just shy of $1000/month. Apartments half the size of this home cost about this much in and around this city.
Even the nearby “rent controlled” apartments have their 2 bed, 2 bath, 950 sq ft apartments at $821/mo USD, a $200 USD deposit, and require that you make $2052.50/mo just to qualify. Their 3 bed, 2 bath, 1100 sq ft apartments cost $946/mo USD, a $300 USD deposit, and require that you make $2369/mo to qualify, and they’re the cheapest place we’ve found near town.
Now the other reason we dropped this place triple-quick is their stringent requirements for being accepted, some of which are arguably illegal since they’re getting tax credits under the Fair Housing Act. Here are just a few choice requirements:
- First time renters require an additional deposit.
- You cannot owe an apartment community or landlord more tha $1.00 USD, and cannot have any evitions or judgements against you.
- Landlord reference indicating that the landlord would not re-let to the applicant due to a lease violation is an automatic denial.
- All applicants and residents have to undergoe criminal history screening. A felony conviction of any kind will result in an automatic denial.
So yeah…We’re not trusting these people. They also underwent a management shuffle, and became a fully gated community. Also, like Avesta Aguve Falls and this community we’re living in, the apartment complex had almost all Hispanic families. I did not see a single child come off of the school busses who wasn’t Hispanic, and while it might be a rather nice neighborhood, that makes me worried about the management showing bias.
Reason 3: The Tech Boom!
One of the big reasons Austin has started to see an insane climb in its cost of living is due to the tech boom currently hitting the city. With Google and Apple looking to move in, and many data centers, hosting companies, and startups opening shop here, Austin’s CoL is rising like crazy. Rent is beginning to rise, the roads are becoming are more crowded during the day, people in the lower and lower-middle classes are being pushed out for the upper-middle and upper classes, and we’re starting to see more of a San Francisco trend in the city. Austin is losing a lot of what made it a great place to live: keeping it local.
Of course, technology advances, and people want to take advantage of it. That’s just life now. However, I really wish it wasn’t at the cost of everyone else’s happiness.
So, that leaves the question: What am I going to do when we get there?
Well, I still want to work on my writing and art, and perhaps take up craftwork like woodworking. However, to start, I’ll begin doing my writing patreon again on a per-work (max of $X per moth) basis, rather than a per-month basis.
I don’t know what I’ll be doing beyond that, though. I mean, I’ll be helping my family with things, and eventually looking for a new place of our own to rent for a while within the Arkansas River Valley area. I also eventually want to drag Calyo and Sildrae to Hot Springs, AR for a trip to the bath houses and Mid America Museum, and maybe drag Calyo to some of the Fort Smith Symphony concerts. <3