It’s no secret that it is a rough market for renters right now. Demand for apartments is through the roof, and short supply is driving up prices like crazy. With my lease up, I found myself fighting tooth and nail against other renters within a bleak landscape of overpriced studios and exorbitant fees. That’s why when I saw a Craigslist ad for a spiritual “group living” setup at a reasonable cost and with no middleman, I decided to take a leap of faith.
That’s right: I joined a cult because there was no broker fee (plus heat and hot water included).
When I started my search I was hoping for a studio with a separate kitchen in Crown Heights. I don’t think this should have been too big a dream, but most brokers were charging 15% of the annual rent, and I just don’t have money like that to burn. On the other hand, if I joined the fam (we call it the fam because “the family” has a bad connotation — also it’s cute!) I would only have to deposit a one-time blood oath, and let’s face it: I have more disposable blood than income! Who’s with me?
Of course I had my reservations about joining a cult to end my apartment search. For one thing, the fam lives on a plot of land in rural Pennsylvania, and I was really looking for something in Brooklyn, maybe Queens. But these concerns ended up being no big deal. When I asked The Bringer of the New World how I would commute to Manhattan, he assuaged my worries by letting me know that I wasn’t allowed to “have a job” or “talk to people outside the fam.” Goodbye, Zoom meetings, hello, washing The Bringer’s feet as a sign of my undying devotion to the new order!
I don’t mean to cast judgment on anyone who’s still renting in a major city, but the fact of the matter is, brokers and landlords can be a bit predatory. My mom and dad tried to tell me that my cult was predatory too when they finally found me in Pennsylvania, but then they had a private dinner with The Bringer, and now they’re part of the fam, too! He really is charming.
So if anyone else out there is sick of getting the squeeze from shady property management firms and brokers, consider dropping your whole life and joining a fledgling cult. When I look back, it’s so embarrassing that I was trying to make it as an actor in New York. Now I’ll definitely be in an HBO docu-series when this all goes south in a couple of years! Here’s to practical financial solutions!