Need a quiet commuter apt for the Hubby, need advice.

BeemerMarch 31, 2010

Since my husband's job is now 1 1/4 hrs. from where we live, and he can called on to work mega overtime on short notice as a truck driver, we are looking to rent a commuter apartment for him. After a 14 hour day, we don't need to have him drive another 2 1/2 hours to and from home(he wouldn't be legal). The boss gets grumpy if he has legal driving hours issues and can short him runs if he is deemed as being "difficult".

All he needs is a Studio, but a small one bedroom can be had for about the same price here. But it MUST be quiet -- he HAS to sleep. Savi.ngs on gas and being able to work the overtime easily pays the rent/utility bill.

Renting a room isn't really an option, because on occasion, I may need to stay the night there - mainly due to weather problems in winter. If they are comfortable renting to a males, they don't want a wife staying over (although they joked girfriends are OK!!!) (Grrrr). Also, he may not get in until 4 in the morning and has to sleep thru the morning, and people renting rooms in homes don't want the weird hours. (He currently uses wireless headphones to listen to TV or radio during weird hours so he doesn't bother me.)

We are running into a couple of roadblocks. One, landlords look at me a crazy looking for a "pad" for my husband. They think we are either divorcing, or he is being given permission to play around! I guess commuter rentals aren't big here. I know they can't discriminate, but hey, they don't have to rent to you. Since we have owned a home for 15 years, we have no LL references. Our cre.dit references are stellar.

We are also reticent about signing a year-long contract if the apt complex turns out to be noisy - or there is a neighbor from hell. If after a couple of months it seems quiet, we'd be more than happy to sign a long lease. LL around here don't even want to talk to you unless you sign a year long lease -- and then you never hear from them if there are any problems!

What ideas do you have about finding the right type of apartment/landlord arrangement? How do you increase your chances of getting the quiet place to crash you need?

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I have no idea the area you are looking to rent in. Try using the search term *corporate rental* *relocation rental* *temporary rental* to find a small place with a short term lease or weekly rental agreement. There are apartments that specialize in catering to this type of tenant. There are also hotels that cater to the business traveler and will rent by the week or month. Check out *Extended Stay Hotels* *Residence Hotels*.

****If you rent a hotel room on a long term basis make sure you ask that you not pay the hotel tourist tax. You will save having to pay this tax if a hotel room is your residence. At least that is how it is in my state. Check for the details in your state. Maybe all states do not charge a hotel tax - I don't know, but mine does and it can be waived.

You could also do what my cousin and her DH did. They just bought a tiny house. The mortgage was the same as the price of a hotel room rental cost for four nights. They can always sell it when they don't need it anymore for job commute. You might be able to get a good deal on a condo.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:21AM
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We are running into a couple of roadblocks...We are also reticent about signing a year-long contract if the apt complex turns out to be noisy - or there is a neighbor from hell.

I checked your ID and see in you're in an even colder zone that me. ;) I can respond to the hesitation over doing a short term lease, there are multiple reasons, particularly in climates that get bad weather in winter. First, kids are settled in school, so people are reluctant to change districts midstream. Second, people are tucked in for winter, don't relish much the idea of hauling furniture around in snow and ice, etc. So if a LL has a vacancy in winter, it's a pain trying to get the place re-rented. Most in my area, whether large complex or smaller LL (including me) renew all leases in April -> June. Kids are or soon will be done with school, weather is good, therefore larger pool of potential renters. I had a house come vacant in early Dec once (tenant broke lease & left, but I was glad). With weather and holidays it took me over 3 weeks to find someone and they didn't want to move in till mid January, after holidays were done.

With spring here you might find more possibilities opening up, perhaps an opportunity where someone will do a month to month lease?

You could either check or post a "wanted" ad on the local Craig's List or Kijiji (another online classified like CL). Or google the term "for rent" for sites that have rental listings. I see more and more private/smaller LLs in my area are starting to use Craig's List because it's free (versus $100 for a newspaper ad). In my own experience I get far more responses from CL (or just a sign in the yard) than I ever do from the newspaper.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:14PM
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Just some random thoughts on things you could try.

Simply tell landlords you are looking for a small apartment for you and your husband, due to the location of his job. There's no need to get into the fact that only your husband will be using it the majority of the time.

If you live near any colleges or universities, many students rent apartments on a full-year lease and then need to sub-let them over the summer when they return home. It might be possible to sub-let for the summer, which would give you a feel for how noisy a particular apartment building is.

Try to find a three or four unit apartment building that is owned by an individual landlord, rather than a large management company (Moonshadow's suggestion of Craigslist would be a good place to start). Bonus if the landlord lives in the building, because then the landlord will have a vested interest in keeping the building quiet (or at least mostly quiet). Smaller buildings tend to have less noise, just because there are fewer people in them.

You might also try to find an in-law apartment attached to someone's home. There still might be noise, but it would be the noise of one family, as opposed to lots of people above you, below you, on all side and tramping through the hallways.

Top floor apartments tend to be quieter. You don't have anyone walking overhead, or dropping things on the floor. End or corner units tend to be quieter because you have fewer walls shared with other units, and therefore fewer sounds to travel into your unit. So look for a top floor end or corner apartment, away from the stairs or elevators, because people can make a tremendous amount of noise on the stairs and people can congregate by the elevators, chatting and laughing while you are trying to get to sleep, especially on weekend nights.

In general, the older buildings tend to have thicker walls and floors and therefore sound travels less. I'm thinking of pre-war apartments in places like NYC and Boston and Chicago. I currently live in a two-family house built in the 1920s. There's a little baby downstairs, but I only hear him cry on occasion, and only when I'm in the room directly over the room he's in. And the noise level is not enough to bother me--I don't even turn up the TV sound when he cries.

About the month to month arrangement--Moonshadow has given some very good reasons why landlords don't like to do this. In my area, almost every lease starts on September 1 and ends on August 31, because of the large number of colleges and universities in the area. It's a hassle for a landlord to get an apartment ready for a new tenant, cleaning, painting, cleaning carpets, and then have to do it all over again in a few months. What you might try doing is offering to pay a slightly higher rent for those few months where you would be month to month, to compensate for the problems and added expenses that might arise if you vacate the apartment in two or three months. I've mostly seen this done at the end of a lease, where someone needs to stay in the apartment a few months longer than the lease is for, but knows that they can't stay for a year. Landlords in my area charge $75 to $150 a month more to let you stay on a month to month basis.

And finally, if there is noise but it's not too bad, say the occasional indistinct noise of a TV rather than the blare of the music student next door's trumpet or sax, there are white noise machines that can cancel out the sound. Or earplugs.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 10:47AM
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I wouldn't rule out the possibility of renting a room, unless your husband is so sensitive to noise that he can't sleep through normal get up-make coffee-take a shower noise. I used to rent a room in my house, and I wouldn't have had a problem with the situation you're describing, so long as "on occasion, I may need to stay the night there" really meant on occasion, and not regularly, and so long as *he* was quiet and respectful coming in late at night.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 6:41PM
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