On December 18, 2009, I moved from my friends’ house to a shared house in Seattle (I mention the move in A Slight Interruption in Service, but I never did an entry on the place itself). For 5 1/2 years, I lived at the same address. None of my housemates at the beginning of this time were my housemates at the end, though several stayed well beyond their six-month leases.
Earlier this year, my landlord told me of his intentions to sell the house. He’d told me of the possibility of selling the house as far back as two years ago, but competing plans made it unclear what would actually happen to the place. Though he assured all us tenants that our leases would continue under the new owners, I was leery, and began looking for a new place, particularly when he junked a couch swing I’d saved and put in the backyard. That to me was the death knell of my old way of life.
Or, I should say, began preparing myself to move, for I didn’t start looking until he found a buyer. That was early in July, roughly a few weeks after he’d put the house on the market. One of my former housemates had expressed interest — with his father — of buying the property and continuing to run it as a rental unit, but the asked-for price was too high.
Initially, the owners assured my landlord that contracts would remain the same (all of us were month-to-month, minus one person who was on a three-month lease, signed through September). Same rent. Same rooms. Same arrangement. On the day I went to look at my first rental property– with a friend and coworker of mine, whom I’d decided to become roommates with — I got a call from my landlord. Phone reception was bad where I was, so I listened to the message on the way back home.
It was Sunday, July 19th. The owners had changed their mind. After a walk-through the week before, they’d come back with a non-negotiable position. All tenants had to be out by the end of August.
I later found out this was illegal (Seattle law requires 60-days notice if a single-family unit is sold and the new owners no longer wish to rent it out), but by that point, I’d found a new apartment, and since no one in my house seemed to care, I took no further action. Ownership transferred hands on August 12th, a Wednesday. I moved out on Saturday, August 15th, with critical help from a few friends and a UHaul van. I later went back to grab a microwave from one of my former housemates and some cleaning supplies I’d bought but had left for other tenants to use. I found carpets ripped up, boxes and appliances piled up in the yard, and no more shed in back.
No matter. I’ve now been in my new place over a month. Boxes are unpacked, furniture is in place, and nothing broke in the move (one DVD got dislodged from its holder, but it should be okay). I’m surprised how easy the transition was (the transition to living in a new place, not the move itself), especially since my home in the U-District was the longest I’ve lived at one address since adulthood. Perhaps it was time for a change. I’d been growing stagnant and frustrated in the months leading up to the sale of the house. Now, at my new place, I can start over, yet again.