---- — As the Grand Traverse region continues to gather accolades for its beauty, cuisine and recreational lifestyle, those lured to the area are finding that affordable housing is hard to come by.
Their frustration is clear in online posts with headings like,“Still looking,” “Desperately wanting a home!!” and “Single mom is searching and time is running out.”
“I am excited to be a new teacher in Traverse City and looking forward to living in or around the city,” one says. “Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky in finding an affordable apartment or house to rent. Many landlords have told me they simply have no more units to rent out and their waiting lists are too long.”
Says another: “I’ve been looking for a place to rent for going on 4 months now, outskirts of TC. I know people who have been looking for 6 months, in and around the city. The same problem for all of us — we can’t afford the rents being asked.”
And still another: “As a single income family of 2 you would think by making over $650 per week (before taxes, after it’s more like $550), that income would allow me to afford a decent 2 bedroom house. I’ve been looking all summer and haven’t found anything under $1,000 within TCAPS district. And I don’t even have any pets to worry about.”
Those with pets are having an even harder time.
“I have rented for 10 years and have never had so much trouble as I have in Traverse City,” vented one poster.
Another bemoaned the high prices of small apartments: “Are you kidding? What makes these places worth so much?”
I understand their frustration. Yet as a landlord, I also understand the costs involved in leasing a home and the toll tenants and their pets can take on a nice property — small or not.
That cellular shade with the tear that can’t be repaired? About $300 to replace. The section of custom baseboard that got chewed up? About $150 to re-create. Permanent stains on rugs and furniture and bedding? More money than a security deposit of a month’s rent can cover.
This summer alone we’ve had vacation renters who run the air conditioner all day with the windows wide open, who let their cats shed all over uncovered furniture, and who swim their dogs and then bring them inside to drip and shake on the walls and rugs. It all costs money and results in higher rents.
I don’t have a solution, but I do know that as long as the region continues to court new residents, it needs to come up with one — and fast.