On the surface, a lot of the design tips, tricks and trends discussed in this blog only apply to homeowners. But, I’m going to make the case for why you should feel free to do whatever you want to home, regardless of the feelings of your scumbag landlord.
Did you know that your apartment/rental home is specifically shitty in certain ways to steal as much of your security deposit as possible? I started watching some financial guru’s on YouTube and they all discuss how buying rental homes is the key to financial independence. In one series, this guy discusses what things to buy for a rental home and why. This was one of the most eye-opening videos I’ve ever seen.
He offers his “pro tip” on how you should only buy the cheapest, $2.00 square foot vinyl wood-look flooring rather than genuine wood flooring because it’s going in a rental. Sure it’s not as durable and doesn’t look as nice, but it’s going in a rental, so when it gets ruined, just take it out of your tenants security deposit.
Landlords install tons of things that they knowingly expect to fail because, you’ll be paying for it, not them. And make no mistake, that shitty wood look flooring? You’re paying for it twice, because landlords know that wood flooring is a “desirable” option and they charge more in rent for it. You’re paying for this low-grade vinyl every single month and when you move out, you’ll pay for it again. Bet.
Do you know why your rental still has carpet? So your landlord can charge you for it when you move out! The same landlord I was talking about above, was admonishing future landlords for putting anything OTHER than carpet in the bedrooms. Why? Because you can get carpet, installed for 60 cents a sq ft. Is it high quality? No, it’s going to be some loose fiber, low pile tan garbage that stains easy, wears out quickly, and, you guessed it – allows a landlord to steal your money!
I often wondered why landlords installed carpets, because when you move out, they all freak out about the carpet. But that’s by design! They put you on an ice cube and get pissed at you for letting it melt. Fuck em.
Landlords aren’t creating a home that they would live in. They’re installing the worst possible shit they can get away with. They are giving you the bare minimum that you can live with. And that’s why you have white walls and tan carpets. It’s why you have boob lights in your hallway. It’s why every single thing (other than the fake wood floor and granite countertops) are completely garbage.
If they can’t charge you more for it, they won’t install it. There is no pride of ownership with landlords. They don’t make the homes they rent beautiful or interesting. They make them “legally livable” and any luxury features you might have are factored into the rent. You are paying for them above the cost of the real estate. It’s a fact.
So, given that there are dozens of things in your apartment/rental home designed to fail, designed to keep your money, and any luxury features that exist in your home are things you’re already paying for – you should feel free to do whatever you want inside your home. You pay for every single molecule inside that space, and you need to stop feeling hesitant to make your rental look and feel like you.
There’s a term in real estate investing called “cashflow”. Almost all landlords “cashflow” their properties. What this means is that the rent they charge you is higher than the mortgage they pay on it. What THIS means is that they don’t own the property they are leasing to you. They are essentially renting you their credit score for a couple hundred dollars a month. The more they cashflow, the more they make.
This gets worse as time goes on. Nationally, on average, homes appreciate anywhere from 3.7% to 8.9% annually (depending on a ton of factors like location and size). The landlords mortgage does NOT appreciate. It stays roughly the same. Taxes fluctuate but not enough to really move the needle. That said, if taxes goes up, that’s usually because property values went up and that means your rent will go up. “Sorry bud. Nothing I can do about it.” says the landlord.
As inflation happens, the house value goes up, and the mortgage gets relatively cheaper. If your landlord bought that place in 1997, his mortgage was based off the buying power of the late ’90s which is 60% less than today. Just by the nature of time and money, he’s getting a 60% discount on that house, that he is not passing on to you. He’s putting that into his pocket. He can afford to repaint the walls, guys.
Look above, this is a landlord, posting on a forum asking other landlords how much he should keep from his tenants security deposit because the toilet seat from 1984 broke and the tenant replaced it. He doesn’t like it cuz it’s not the original color (where the fuck are you going to find a mauve toilet seat?) and wants to know how much he can keep.
This guy made hundreds of dollars of a month off his tenants, tenants who were proactive and fixed something they broke and he’s very, very interested in figuring out how much he can steal from them. Why not?
So to recap: You are paying your landlord for use of their credit score. You are already paying for everything in the apartment anyway. Landlords plot against you among themselves and specifically design your space to fail and break down to keep as much of your money as possible.
When all is said and done: they own a house worth hundreds of thousands of dollars paid for with other people’s money. They spend those decades living their own lives with other people’s money as well. Landlording is work in the same way loansharking is work. They exist solely off of your fear, your poverty, or your mistakes.
Fuck them. Do whatever you want in your apartment. You’re paying for it either way. Might as well live in the space you want to live in.
Let’s have a great week.
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