Business: Playing Rental Roulette

Skyscraper prices leave apartment seekers flat broke

The newspaper ad described it as a "charming penthouse with fireplace" in a "restored town house." But when the apartment-hunting couple gave a taxi driver the address in lower Manhattan's East Village, he blurted: "That's the combat zone! I'm not going there, buddy." The couple finally pulled up in front of a building that had rats scurrying up the narrow stairs, cockroaches dancing in the fetid rooms and bars on the narrow windows. The "fireplace" was a drawing with colored flames. Rent? "Well," rasped the agent, "they're...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!