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Category: flat hunt

05/01/11 08:47 - ID#54197

Subletting in Queens, NYC

My brother is moving out of his big and happy 1 bedroom flat to move closer to his workplace in Manhattan. But his landlord won't let him out of the 2 year lease he signed. :(

Would any of you happen to know of anyone who wants to live in a nice 1 bedroom in Forest Hills, Queens for a year on a sublet?

Here is his ad on Craigslist:
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Category: flat hunt

04/22/10 07:21 - ID#51438



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Category: flat hunt

04/10/10 10:33 - ID#51362

Help! NYC flats?

Okay, flat hunting in NYC for my brother has not been going so well. Thanks, (e:Heidi) for putting me in contact with Lisa! I have sent her an email.

My brother and I are visiting NYC to check out flats from Thursday to Sunday this coming week. It's making us really nervous. He needs to move to NYC in the second week of May. We have been looking at craigslist and for prospective places. Craigslist, NYC is like 100X dodgier than any craigslist I have looked at! Are we missing any good sources such as artvoice for NYC or something?

Do you know of any friends/contacts who are leasing out places in the range of $900 - $1500 a month? We have been told to hire a broker but I am inclined to take (e:lauren)'s advice and directly talk with people who are leasing their own places out.

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Category: flat hunt

03/21/10 11:24 - ID#51243

Flat hunting in NYC

So how does one hunt for a cheap flat in NYC without having to share it with a gazillion others??

And no. I am not moving but my brother is. We are looking to find something in the range of $1000 to $1500/month. We have been told to stick to areas around Harlem or Brooklyn and ignore the rest of the boroughs.

If you know of anyone renting out a flat - you cannot find a better tenant than my brother (Yes. I know. I could be saying that just because I am related but it's true).

Thoughts or tips, anyone? Former/current NYC dwellers or Buffalo denizens with NYC contacts?

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Category: flat hunt

04/25/09 11:44 - ID#48498

Buffalo Craigslist Credit Report Scam

I advertised on the Buffalo Craigslist Apartments/Housing Wanted section yesterday I was somewhat doubtful about getting any results but I got a bunch of emails.

The first wave of emails read:

Shareef Ennes <>
Hi do you still need a house?

Muirin Seaver <>
Hey, do you need housing still?

Loviise Blackwood
Hi, I just saw your CL ad. Do you still need housing?

Greer Rowley <>
Hi, I noticed your ad. Are you still looking for a place?

Milena Dodd <>
Hello, are you still looking for housing?

jennamasters.masters674 <>
Hey are you still looking for a place to stay?

galegdwn <>
Hi there. I was just reading the Craigslist Ads, are you still looking for somewhere to stay?

  • That is starting to look like a hundred ways to say the same thing. Heh.

I thought it was worth a shot so I replied. In some cases I sent a blank email back just to check whether they were even reading my replies. In some replies, I wrote, "No, thanks." Regardless of what I wrote/or didn't write, I got these immediate canned replies from all of them in response to my blank/negative/postive email:

Shareef Ennes <>
Greer Rowley <>
Loviise Blackwood <>
galegdwn <>

Hi there, nice to hear from you. Well that's good because I have many places available for you in the area. What's your exact price range? How soon were you looking to move? Before I show you any listings I'd like to get a feel of what you'd qualify for, we can do this by getting your credit score. Our office has a relationship with a credit report company to give our clients free credit reports, if you'd like to get one through our partner go to http:// or you can get one through your own means, just please get this to me and we can get you into something. I look forward to speaking with you.


Muirin Seaver <>
Milena Dodd <>
jennamasters.masters674 <>

Hi, thanks for messaging me back. I'm a realtor and have a decent amount of listings in the area in your price range. How soon were you looking to move? Before I show you any listings I'd like to get a feel of what you'd qualify for, we can do this by getting your credit score. Our office has a relationship with a credit report company to give our clients free credit reports, if you'd like to get one through our partner go to http:// or you can get one through your own means, just please get this to me and we can get you into something. I look forward to talking to you and getting you situated.

The whole lightening speed response thing unnerved me and I sent them an email back saying:

Hi Muirin,

Thanks for your email. My price range is anything less than $570 including all utilities. My current lease ends on Jun 30th. I am required to give my current landlord a 60 day notice before I move. Would you have places ready to move in by last week of June?

I have my current credit report from Equifax. Could you please let me know which office you are affiliated with - before I send you my report. Also, are you in the same office as Shareef Ennes?


I didn't get a reply from any of them.

Later in the day, I got this email:

sun kratzhoefer <>


Just saw your advert on craigslist buffalo looking for studio/1 br
late may/early june.

I hope you dotn mind me mailing but I wish someone told me this before, I was looking for an apt for me and my kids in buffalo but kept getting turned down.

My friend told me it was a good idea to get a credit rep'ort done and take that along when you view the appts. This shows them you are serious about renting and puts you aheadof the other people in the list.

Anyway she showed me this site where you can get a fr#ee report done and it worked wonders, me and the kids are happy in our new appt.

If you need to get one done you can get a fr]ee one doen here http://

let me know how you get on.

all the best

Jamie Low

There were three more emails.

One from someone called: Enola Denney <> saying that she had some mystery location flat painted dark blue and if I minded that paint colour. (Also requesting a credit report from: http:// ) for $3

A mass-email from someone from UB South Campus: Sounded genuine because there was no request for a credit report, just the location, email and telephone number. I am guessing this is a UB student looking to sublet his room in a shared house.

The most genuine email was from a former professor from Canisius who linked to a personal website and replied to each of my requirements. But alas, the flat he is renting out is a block from Niagara St. and quite a hike from Roswell.

A typical credit report has all your:
- Former and current credit card details
- Last four digits of your SSN
- Your date of birth
- Your full address and past addresses
- Your current credit card balance and balance/payment histories.

Are these people sending anonymous unsigned emails cheeky enough to believe that suckers would send them their credit reports and literally invite them to an identity theft party??! What is this - the Buffalo Craigslist Apartment Wanted version of the big Nigerian I -have-embezzeled-funds-give-me-your-bank-account-number email scam?

There is NO such thing as a free credit report from anyone other than the Federal Trade Commission's single authorized website: stated clearly here: (which, in turn directs you to three credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union to request your once a year free credit report)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a prominent warning:

The FTC advises consumers who order their free annual credit reports online to be sure to correctly spell, or link to it from the FTC's website to avoid being misdirected to other websites that offer supposedly free reports,but only with the purchase of other products. While consumers may be offered additional products or services while on the authorized website, they are not required to make a purchase to receive their free annual credit reports.

and even a youtube video channel: with pretty interesting educational videos on credit scam and phishing.

I did get my current Mayflower flat from craigslist, and no one asked me my credit scores then. Are all these people identity theives? Why would anyone want a credit score from you EVEN BEFORE they show you a flat? If they are Buffalo residents wouldn't their names turn up on the white pages? They are unlisted, anonymous, un-"google-able" and downright dodgy.

The lesson: Avoid the housing/apartment wanted section on Buffalo Craigslist.
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Category: flat hunt

04/24/09 10:35 - ID#48488

Morbid Question

Do you ever check if people were murdered or committed suicide in the flat you want to rent? If you find out that a homicide/suicide did happen sometime in the past, in the very flat you are considering, would you back out? Is it odd to scour police records for homicide as a background check for your future flat or home?

I was looking at news reports for the Ambassador building on North Street and found someone had reported a murder in #402 back in 2000-2001. I am speculating about what I might do if I do come across a situation where the flat I am interested in turns out to have a grisly past.

EDIT: I stepped up my flat hunt and posted on craigslist. Does anyone even read the "wanted" section? I wonder...

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Category: flat hunt

04/20/09 08:33 - ID#48445

Renting and Background Checks

(e:Heidi), thanks for the tip. I shall be contacting the Kissling interests property manager today. :)

I just got an email from an apartment owner/manager I had written to earlier. I am surprised that she has such detailed requirements for credit scores of prospective renters. (e:Paul), I am posting this for you. She wrote to tell me that I would need to provide her with a credit score report and included these specs in her email:

Here's how the deposit works based on your credit score:
Credit Score Below 500 - Deposit is $475 + $475 1st month = total is $950 to move in
Credit Score 500-600 - Deposit is $325 + $475 1st month = total is $800 to move in
Credit Score 600-700 - Deposit is $175 + $475 1st month = total is $650 to move in
Credit Score Above 700 - Deposit is $0 + $475 1st month = total is $475 to move in

I think, with the kind of rotten luck you have had with your renters, its time you set some of these rules in place as well.
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Category: flat hunt

04/17/09 10:34 - ID#48426

Mayflower = Moneysucker

It's that time of the year again. Nevermind the recession and the layoffs and the expenses, the Mayflower (henceforth called the Moneysucker) overlords have decided that I would need to pay $$ more every month this coming year if I choose to re-lease.

I hate this. Tiny studios like mine shouldn't be this expensive. IN BUFFALO! I just read (e:jenks)'s journal. Apparently, I shouldn't be paying more than 1/3rd of what I make, in rent. Looks like I have been paying more than 1/3rd for the past 2 years at the Mayflower-moneysucker. And now the moneysucker wants more. The very thought of coughing up $$ more this year with no complementary increase in what I make is really distressing. :/

Thus, I am back to a flat-hunt. I still don't want to live more than a mile out from Roswell, hate carpets and would LOVE south-facing windows. My budget is anything @ or below $580.

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Category: flat hunt

05/22/08 09:01 - ID#44418

No such thing as a perfect flat

The votes are in. I put in my ballot for another year at the building with the hollow lions, terrible heating and lukewarm water.

Here's why. Living in and around Linwood has suddenly become very fashionable. Rumours abound that it is going to become the next gated community north of California. The direct effect of such hearsay and feigned snobbishness of the neighbourhood are crazy rents.

I spent four days hunting for livable and affordable flats around the place and frankly, I am so overwhelmed that I have reached a state of compromise where I think that $600/month may not be too unreasonable a price to pay for a simple studio! Though I have signed on the dotted line for yet another 365 and 1/4th of a day of lukewarm shower-serfdom at the Mayflower, it still seems quite outrageous to me that I managed to find no other place half as reasonable as my building!

The rundown of the hunt (and these were perhaps the only flats available within my budget range):

1. Target at Summer and Linwood (Not my building): Horrible smelly carpet with stains. Yuck. No more carpet tyranny in my life. Ever. Wouldn't live on a carpet even for free. I am done with carpets for life.

2. Target further down Allen: $400 without utilities. $300/month for utilities for the whole of the winter. So essentially $750/month including internet and everything. For a grad student, this is financial suicide. Unless I want to live on Ramen Noodles and spend my time coupon clipping. Which, by the way, I don't because it also happens to be the perfect recipe for depression.

3. Target on Franklin: AWESOME one-bedroom flat. Maintained like a dream. Even smelled nice! Landlord: a gem of a person. $440 a month. The catch, you ask? 9Ft ceilings and thus, $300/month utilities. Same Ramen Noodle issue as above. I pass. (If anyone is interested, and can afford this, I can give you the landlord's contact.)

4. Multiple targets in Hotel Lenox: The one bedroom flat had a bleak and lifeless view from its windows with a kitchen thrown in as an afterthought into a dark corridor of the flat. Another studio had a kitchen with no windows. Call me conceited and spoiled, but to me, the kitchen is the most important room in a house. It's a room where love is grown, happiness is concocted, nostalgia is stirred, music is dreamed up, dances are brewed, ideas are born and orgasms are perfected. The lack of windows and natural light in a kitchen is more abominable than anything else. I retract my earlier statement about the carpet. A kitchen without windows is the living hell I don't want to venture into. Ever.

5. Target on Irving: Nice flat with the blinds drawn. If you are okay with staring at a collection of assorted trashcans from around the neighbourhood and the wall of your neighbour's house 3 feet away, this flat may be perfect for you. It certainly would make me hasten to the first airplane headed back home.

6. The best arrangement of 'em all: Living with (e:Drew) and (e:Janelle). Awesome house, pets I never owned (and probably never will) but have always wanted, ONE-HELL-OF-AN-AMAZING cook (yeah, I mean (e:janelle). Sorry, (e:drew). I have no proof of your culinary skills. ;)) to cook with, lower than crazy rent (in fact, unreasonably so), and best of all, living with one of the coolest (e:strip)pers around!!! But (and isn't there always one? :( ) they live on Lexington. For my lazy and erratic grad student ways, the dream ends there.

I get up barely 1/2 hour before I have to make it to work, walk/run like crazy down the streets and reach at the nick of time. Sometimes, I don't come back till 3:00 AM. No matter how hard I try, I keep slipping into these irregular hours and last minute marathon spells. I delude myself that all this counts towards my exercise regimen (that is non-existent, BTW) Living in a flat very near work acts as a buffer to all these random acts of craziness. I can afford to not be dependent on any transport but my own and also afford to not own a car. So, even though I am TRULY tempted by their offer, I can't take them up on it. I know that the solution is more discipline. But currenly this is in severe short-supply. :/

So yes, there is indeed, no such thing as a perfect flat. There are always kinks and cracks, virtual or otherwise. The tact is to whine and blog about them till they sort of go away from your consciousness.
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Category: flat hunt

05/13/08 11:39 - ID#44333

To move or not to move...

It will be a whole year since I moved into Buffalo, next month. A leap year with an extra day, no less. Unbelievable. One year has gone by and it seems so unreal. I swear time went by faster here than any time or any place I have lived.

The management stuck the extended-lease agreement to the milk box on my door today morning and its time to reconsider whether I want to live here or not. Let's see:

1. It does have a nuclear shelter. Though, I imagine 97 households huddled in the basement with noisy washers, dryers and a spooky gaping hole while the city is being nuclear-bombed might not be so much fun as it is chalked up to be.

2. I don't need to hang up any curtains. Come on, spiderman and superman are not real, kids.

3. The floors are hardwood and shiny. I found a dead flattened mummified mouse under the carpet in my last flat. I suspect it is still there, because as we all know, mummies are best left undisturbed. Carpets are thus modern equivalents of the pyramids. Q.E.D. I hate carpets.

4. I can hear the police sirens at odd times. Believe it or not, it makes it feel like home.

5. My calves have been conditioned pretty nicely this past year, without having to invest in a stairmaster. I just need to figure out why my lungs can't take to stair-climbing as easily as my calves can. Puzzling.

1. The leechy management hiked the rent by $30 - takes it to >$600 with utilities. Money doesn't really grow on trees as the BMG seems to think. (BMG is the management company.)

2. The heating is disastrously bad. But its summer now and I can't recall how bad it was.

3. I think I have too much junk. Living in the same flat for more than a year is injurious to the Simple Pliny Project. The idea is to be nomadic enough to get rid of *everything* unessential.

Not many cons. I remembered that moving also involves actually finding another flat so I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and learned some useful things:

a) Hotel Lenox is also an apartment complex. Imagine the cool factor in being able to tell people that you actually *live* in a hotel. You could also constantly claim that you really haven't made your mind up about Buffalo yet.

b) The Westbrooks Apartments has a restaurant in the building - called Amaryllis. Hmmm... I wonder how it is for the residents. Honey, its time for dinner. I think they are serving baked crab with crumbled feta cheese downstairs.

c) The residents who live in "the North" park in a parking on North and Park streets. Sweet.

d) Is the building across from the massage clinic on North (with the anti-war signage) empty? I couldn't tell. If it is indeed occupied, then the tenants/owner have an odd knack of using billboard ads as curtains.

The Question lingers. I have four days to decide before the rent goes up $40. Aaargh. Tyrants.

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