The first-timers guide to renting your very own pad
By Alex Stanton, Staff Writer
It’s been roughly 23 and a half years since the village of Ioco, British Columbia, was blessed with my arrival into this harsh, unforgiving world in the April of 1992. Since that moment, without exception, I’ve had a home with my long-divorced mother and father, both of whom have supported my mediocre ass all through my childhood and early adulthood. I never forgot that I was extremely lucky to have a place to live for free, nor did I forget that I was absolutely not entitled to free boarding simply because my last-of-kin are able to provide it. All of these self-reminders and mental preparation have finally paid off, because last week, I finally took a nice giant leap into adulthood; as I’m putting this piece together, I’m sitting at my desk in my new room in Central Coquitlam. It’s exciting, but definitely a little intimidating. People much younger than myself (and probably you) have done just fine living on their own or with roommates, and it’s not like they didn’t work hard. Here’s how a growing cub such as you can thrive without mama bear.
1. Budget yourself: Now that you’re living on your own, some ideas might take a little getting used to—namely, the fact that you’re entirely independent and supporting yourself. A huge part of growing up is learning how to use your money. It seems a much better idea to go out and binge drink on the weekends when you know for a fact that tomorrow you’ll have a dinner prepared by Chef Mommy. You’ll now have to take into account things you took for granted, such as groceries, clothes, and frickin’ laundry detergent (a.k.a. liquid gold; seriously, this stuff is expensive). If you have a car, insurance and gas is going to have your wallet for brunch. Speaking of which…
2. Your car is a luxury, not a necessity: Ever since I moved into my new place, I’ve put down my keys and have taken a break from driving. Okay, I’ll admit it, it’s not by choice—my licence is currently suspended—but it’s been an unexpected boon. After cancelling my insurance and nixing gas costs, I’ve found a Compass Card is getting me around just fine. For some full-time college students, a vehicle is just not realistic; you have no time to work, and owning a vehicle is a massive money pit.
3. Have an income: It doesn’t get more obvious than this in terms of advice. Whether it’s through work, your parents, or social assistance, having SOME form of income is non-negotiable. How can you pay your way in life without a few leaves of green (or in Canada’s case, green, red, purple, blue, and brown) to your name? Before you move in somewhere, it’d be a smart idea to save up beforehand. Enter the adult world with multiple months’ worth of rent in case something goes completely wrong.
4. Be nice to your landlords: In fact, go ahead and suck up to them a bit. The relationship between you and the person gracious enough to rent you space in their home is one of the first important associations you will have as an adult. Your parents owe you unconditional love, and your teachers owe you an education—this guy, though? He owes you nothing. He doesn’t even owe you a place to live. The only one writing I.O.U.s is you. Most landlords have rules, many of them completely reasonable; the kind of person who brings seven people over to his studio apartment for a loud party or who spends all day smoking weed inside the house doesn’t deserve the privilege of renting a space.
There are too many kids out there barely scraping by, always one paycheque or serious injury away from being homeless. This is especially a problem in an expensive city like Vancouver. If you’re living here, it means you’re going to be paying most of your income towards sheltering yourself. But if you’re smart about it, even a kid such as yourself can make it on your own.