What It's Like for Renters in America: A Reading List


Sam Stecklow (@samstecky) is a TV and journalism student based in Chicago.

As we all recently learned from the now-Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio’s campaign, America is becoming increasingly divided along class lines. Major cities, such as de Blasio’s New York (or #deblasiosnewyork, if you like Twitter), are keeping up with that trend. These are three stories of hellish renting experiences in major American cities:

1. “Sympathy for the Landlord” (Lauren Smiley, San Francisco magazine, October 2013)

Smiley’s story about renting in the most expensive city in the country isn’t a very light read, but her nuanced view is essential to understanding the current political and societal climate in San Francisco.

2. “Why Run a Slum If You Can Make More Money Housing the Homeless?” (Andrew Rice, New York magazine, December 1, 2013)

The story of how one family gamed the system and is charging the government $3600 per month, per room, to house some of New York’s many, many homeless.

3. “Lord of the Sties” (David Bates, Boston magazine, January 2014)

Bates’ story about nightmare landlord Anwar Faisal is a terrifying portrait of what it’s like to be a college student renting in Boston.


Photo: eviltomthai, Flickr

We need your help to get to 5,000 Longreads Members.

Join Longreads now and help us keep going.

Sam Stecklow is a contributor to Longreads' blog, an editorial fellow at The Morning News, a contributor to The Airspace, and has seen every episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun.
Get the Longreads Weekly Email

Sign up to receive the Top 5 Longreads of the week, delivered every Friday.