A room of your own

By DANIEL MCGOWAN  |  January 27, 2011

Even if you mistakenly take that apartment with Joey the Landlord, he can't just raise the rent because you didn't offer the last Bud Light in your refrigerator or refused to sleep with him because he's 40 and still collects baseball cards. In fact, you must receive a written notice 30 days prior to any increase in monthly costs.


This is crucial. If you're into staying up all night, smoking pot, and sleeping with everything on legs, don't live with the Christian kid who spends his free time at Bible study and has never been alone in the same room with a woman that wasn't his mother. He'll always resent you and he'll tell his friends you smell like a skunk. Also, you can bet horrible, HORRIBLE things will happen to your toothbrush throughout the year.


While Providence is a great place to live, you should probably know the city is dead broke. Which means it will constantly attempt to scrape every penny it can off of you while you live here. Last year, the Mayor tried to tax you simply for being a student in the city. So don't expect the 1–7 am parking ban to be lifted any time soon. If you have a car, make sure you're guaranteed a parking spot or be prepared to pay a lot in fines.


If you live in a first floor or basement level apartment, don't shit yourself when you see a tiny mouse run across the kitchen floor. Yes, they're disgusting, but you're the one who threw a rager and didn't bother to wash the floor afterward. Rats are a different story. If you see those guys anywhere near your house, feign the plague and contact your landlord immediately.


Even if you've got a roommate you hope dies in his sleep, have started naming the rats, and have less water pressure than most South American huts, you can't just stop paying rent. It doesn't work like that and anyone who tells you it does probably still lives with his mother. If you have a complaint, you must notify your landlord and give him 20 days to fix the problem. If the problem persists, you must give two weeks' notice that you plan to terminate the rental agreement. Keep your documents!


If you happen to be late with rent, it's not the end of the world. Many landlords will allow you to work it out as long as the problem doesn't become habitual. And even if you do have someone less than accommodating to deal with, there is still a process (it usually takes over a month) they have to go through to evict you. So don't worry that you're going to come home one day to find your lava lamp on the pavement and the locks changed on the doors.


In addition to finding the right roommates and paying your rent on time, make sure you're always aware of your surroundings. Much as you'd like to think otherwise, this isn't your city. You go home to mom every other month. So before you decide to terrorize the neighborhood with crappy music and garbage fires, remember the people trying to raise families here. You can still have a great experience without being a douchebag.

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