9 Annoying Things Only Renters (and Ex-Renters) Can Understand

  • That's just gross.

    That's just gross.

  • Not our problem!

    Not our problem!

  • Is this heaven?

    Is this heaven?

Homeownership -- it's so much work! You've got a hefty monthly payment, plus you'd better have cash reserves because if something breaks, fixing it is on you. Maybe you feel nostalgic for those days when you were a carefree renter. But we're here to remind you renting isn't exactly a walk in the park (or the apartment complex courtyard), either.

Maybe you have to be an apartment dweller to get it, but there's more to renting than writing a check and calling the landlord for free repairs. If you've ever lived in an apartment complex, you're thoroughly familiar with the pain of the following scenarios.

The old tenants are always around in spirit

Things we don't like to think about: When we move in, we're just one tenant in a long list of people who've occupied the space -- and it shows. Perhaps the previous renters' hooks are still hanging in the kitchen. Or maybe you're getting junk mail for 15 different strangers. No matter what, you have to think good thoughts so that you don't focus on the fact that a lot of people used that bathtub before you.

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You worry about wear and tear all the time

Security deposits are all in the details: The only way you're ever getting yours back is if you move out with scuff-free walls, scratch-free floors, and unstained countertops. And to make that happen, your walls will be bare of your favorite paintings forever, and you'll have to put the dog in booties (trust us, they do not like that). Plus, no matter how careful you are, sometimes you're still left to hunt down the security deposit after you move.

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You're always wondering what that sound was

Have you ever been woken up by the sound of three bowling balls rolling across the ceiling at 3 a.m.? If you answered yes, you've probably been a first-floor renter. Noise happens when you share walls. And it usually happens after midnight. And you never can identify what it was. Are your neighbors moving furniture? Playing bocce in the hallway? Did they take up clog dancing? These are some of life's greatest mysteries that, sadly, we'll never solve.

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Cooking smells know no boundaries

Those walls aren't air-tight, either. Think whatever your neighbor's cooking smells delicious? Good, because you're going to smell it forever. And if the floor plans aren't identical, you're smelling it in weird places. Their kitchen above your bathroom? You're showering in chicken vindaloo once a week.

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You know way too much about your neighbors

You met your neighbor once, officially. His name is John, or possibly Jim -- definitely something with a J -- but that doesn't mean John/Jim is a stranger. You've heard him argue -- among other things -- with his girlfriend so much that you're ready to start offering your conflict resolution services. Hey, at least you'd make some cash off of this.

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Laundry is an event

Laundry day isn't about bingeing on Netflix while you distractedly fold your towels. If you're renting -- and sharing a communal laundry room -- laundry day is literally the week's worst day (that you put off and off until you've turned all of your underwear inside out and possibly bought new underwear -- not that we're admitting to anything).

You're schlepping bags of dirty clothes across a courtyard that seems to go on for miles (or possibly even down the street). Then you shove your clothes into machines covered in a disgusting combo of sticky spilled laundry detergent, long strands of strangers' hairs, and what we can only assume is wet lint. And what is your reward? Schlepping it all home again.

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Parking lot wars

Assigned parking is cool and all, but you know how it goes: Mo' parking, mo' problems. For one, most apartment complexes have dozens of numbered spaces and a whopping two unassigned guest spots. If you want to have more than two friends over at the same time, you'll be scouting the parking lot days in advance, trying to figure out who's on vacation and left their car at the airport.

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You covet thy friend's backyard

You think you've got it pretty good, even for a renter. Your place is nice enough, it's big enough, and, really, what more do you need out of your home? Then you spend the day at your friend's amazing backyard barbecue, and you want to cry when you come back to your renter's prison.

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But it lasts only until something breaks

Lush backyards, glorious walk-in closets, and enormous kitchen islands are the fantasies of renters everywhere. But deep down all renters feel a little smug when something breaks and all they have to do is shoot an email to the landlord. It's like magic!