A Tale of Too Many Leases: Why I Lived in 10 Apartments in Nine Years—And How Flexible Living Could Have Helped

By Bri Hand | Jul 2, 2021
Moving truck filled with items

Bri Hand is the Content Marketing Manager at Landing. 

In my nine years of renting, I lived in 10 different apartments. Yes, you read that right: 10. As in, double digits. It’s not that I am a particularly noncommittal person. It’s just that my life circumstances have changed pretty quickly—as they tend to do in your 20s—and this pace of change just never seemed to align perfectly with the rigid terms of a 12-month lease. 

My heart rate picks up just thinking about all the time, money, and energy I have spent hauling my belongings up three flights of stairs, pretending I understood all the legalese in each lease I signed, and arguing with landlords over the definition of the word “sublet.” 

After dealing with confusing lease terms, bad roommates, summer sublets, unsafe apartments, and just plain ol’ bad timing, I truly believe that having a more flexible renting option like Landing in my 20s would have cut back on the headaches I had to deal with as I navigated the leasing process, and allowed me to live a life with more freedom (and fewer fees—my god, the fees). 

Read on for some of my renting horror stories and to learn more about what a Landing lifestyle could do for you. 

Apartment #1: My First College Apartment

There were no plugs in my kitchen and I didn’t yet trust gas stoves, so naturally, I cooked my eggs on the floor.

The summer before my senior year of college, I scored a newspaper internship an hour and a half away from my parents’ house, which meant moving into my own apartment for the first time  (cue the trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond!). Immediately, we were met with challenges: I needed an apartment in my college town, but only for the summer, as I had already signed another lease for the school year. 

Luckily, some old roommates of mine needed someone to sublet their apartment over the summer, since the property management companies in town rented to college students but only offered year-long leases, not ones that spanned just the school year.  This seemed odd, considering the town’s target audience of students, but the arrangement worked out for me! So in I moved for three months. 

Apartment #2: The College Dream Apartment—Until It Wasn’t

I clearly hadn’t yet mastered the art of efficient packing at this point in my life.

My college apartment was, well, the best. It was a five-minute walk from the bars and pizza places downtown and had an (unsanctioned) roof deck I could people-watch from. Also, I had somehow managed to live there without a roommate while only paying my share of the rent, which meant the second bedroom was a designated “Party Room,” complete with a permanent flip-cup table.

Life was good, until later in the year, I received an email from my property management company asking me to come down to their office and sign some paperwork. Being 21 and an idiot, I didn’t put two and two together that they were having me sign another year-long lease for the next calendar year, and I inadvertently locked myself into yet another year of living there *facepalm*. 

I still cringe thinking about this.

When I tried to explain my mistake to the property management company, they didn’t care, and I’ll never forget the long, drawn-out sigh from my parents when I called them to explain my dilemma. Ultimately, I found subletters to take over the lease, but that took weeks upon weeks of posting on Facebook, digging through my networks, and practically begging people to live there. Whoops! 

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Apartment #3: My Small-Town Apartment Complex

Spoiler alert: This couch did not wind up fitting in our apartment. Read on to learn about its fate!

After college, my best friend and I moved into an apartment in the next town over. With the complex’s pool, movie room, and gym, we felt like we were living the ultimate life of luxury—and at only $500 a month, it was the cheapest rent I have ever paid in my adult life (RIP). 

Then, as layoffs loomed at my current newspaper job, I set my sights on a new gig in the big city: Boston. When I scored a job there, I told myself that I could handle the three-hour round-trip commute, but I made it five months before caving and needing to find a place of my own closer to the city. 

Unable to find a subletter right away, I double-paid rent for a month (*sob*), then lucked out again with a subletter who was able to take over the lease for the remaining three months. 

Apartment #4: City Livin’, Having a Blast

Moving in the rain? A dream come true!

My first Boston apartment was located in an adorable part of Somerville and was one of my longest-running rentals. Over my year and a half there, I cycled through six different roommates, and I even stuck around after almost setting the building on fire in a poor first attempt at making sweet potato fries. 

I would have stayed longer if my landlord didn’t decide to raise the rent by over $400 a month when everyone else in the world figured out the neighborhood was adorable. I found a cheaper apartment in another part of town, and moved out early to live there. After many postings on Craigslist and countless apartment tours, I found someone to take over the last three months of the lease.

Apartments #5 / #6. Cooking With Gas

Post-move sweat and lack of understanding of what was about to happen.

This apartment proved to be a giant, dangerous mistake. Our hot water heater was inexplicably broken, so the apartment constantly smelled like gas and managing a shower with hot water was a luxury. The apartment downstairs was vacant, so we scored a key to that unit to take showers down there, and eventually moved in there. 

After another disappointing round of roommate turnover—including one roommate who would routinely leave the stove’s burners on overnight, which is a wonderful idea when your building has gas issues—I finally fled to an apartment that was safer and an easier commute to my new partner’s place.

Apartment #7: The Other Side of the River

The ultimate bliss in the park behind my house.

This time, I jumped over the Charles River into a magical land known as Brookline, and absolutely fell in love with the charming suburb vibe and the fact that there was a park behind my house with plenty of dogs to pet (if you properly lured them over with popcorn).

To be honest, I loved this apartment and would have stayed longer than the five months I lived there, but I decided to move in with my aforementioned boyfriend. And so, he loaded my belongings into a UHaul while I powered through a miserable cold, and we set off on our new life together—with one major caveat…

Apartment #8: Living That “New Girl” Life

Fun fact, we had so much trouble parallel parking this moving truck that an exasperated stranger on the street did it for us.

Since my boyfriend and I decided to live together after about 20 seconds of knowing each other, we decided to make the transition easier by having me live with him and his friends for a year before we struck out on our own. And so, I turned into Jessica Day and moved into a large, three-story house in Brighton with my boyfriend and four other guys for a year.

This social experiment was fun, though we all did have to physically battle it out for fridge space and it seemed like someone was always in the bathroom. As a plus, though, I did get incredibly good at playing foosball!

Apartment #9: A Pipe Dream of a Place

Oh, and the ceiling leaked. A lot.

My boyfriend and I left our frat house for a one-bedroom, basement apartment in Allston that was twice the size of anything else we’d toured in our price range. On the first day of living there, we were greeted by a surprise third roommate, a giant cockroach. It was the first of many to join us in the apartment. 

Once winter came around, we learned about the second reason why this apartment was so cheap: the pipes. To this day, the only explanation I can think of for the sound that came from the pipes was that there was a ghoul with a hammer banging on the pipes at all hours of the day in some kind of haunted revenge scheme against the previous tenants. My “Sent” folder of my inbox was a fun collection of “PLEASE DO SOMETHING!!!!” emails to our landlord, but alas, the problem never got solved, and my sleep pattern never truly recovered.

Bonus pic of us having to saw the problem couch in half, since it took pure magic to get it through the front door when we moved in and there was no way lightning was going to strike twice.

Apartment #10: The Last Apartment

Arlo before he reached 76 lbs.

The next year, my partner and I left our ghoul and cockroaches behind for a two-bedroom apartment in Brighton with the most important amenity of all: It was dog-friendly! We had barely finished hauling our last box into the apartment when we were approved by a dog shelter to bring home a pup, and two weeks later, we had our new favorite roommate, Arlo. 

The one issue? The building’s weight limit for dogs was 45 lbs. And when Arlo wound up being more German Shepherd and Great Pyrenees than Black Lab, he started growing—and kept growing, and growing, and growing—until he was a whopping 76 lbs. 

Suddenly, our spacious apartment started to feel just a bit too cramped for the three of us, and being stuck at home during COVID-19 definitely didn’t help. We decided it was the right time to move out of the city and buy a house. 

Finding a subletter for this apartment was the hardest part of the home-buying process—which is really saying something. Our landlord charged us a “lease break” fee while tasking us with finding subletters ourselves (a process that seemed pretty counterproductive) and with no one renting during COVID, we basically had to lower the rent, pay the difference, and cover all the fees to get people through the door. 

Even with all these perks, we literally found someone to take over the lease just two days before we moved into our new house, putting my anxiety levels at an all-time high (and my savings account at an all-time low). 

Why I wish I could have lived with Landing

Whether it was dealing with roommate issues, living in unsafe or uncomfortable apartments, wanting a pet, or the timing of my lease just not aligning with my major life changes, I wish I had a network like Landing when I was renting. This would have allowed me to live life on my own terms and saved me the headache of letting the apartment rental process completely take over my life each time I needed a change. It would have been great to be able to live at my own proper pace without suffering the consequences each time my life’s journey didn’t fit into a standard box. 

Additionally, the last thing I needed as I was getting my career off the ground in my 20s was the insane number of fees I had to pay as I moved apartments. Between first and last month’s rent, application fees, security deposits, and broker’s fees, I was basically forking over any savings I was able to accumulate over the course of the year anytime I went somewhere new. Landing lets you move apartments without shelling out a giant downpayment, so you aren’t missing a massive hole in your bank account each time you decide to change apartments. 

If you’re looking for a new way to rent, Landing offers furnished apartments with flexible leases in over 375 cities in the U.S. You can browse Landing’s available apartments here, or contact us to learn more about how Landing works. 

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.