Real Estate

Someone is trying to rent out their van as a cheap apartment


There was a time when $475 per month was enough to get you a bedroom in a not-bad apartment, somewhere downtown, often but not always underneath a roof that wasn’t leaky or infested with raccoons, provided you were willing to share the common areas with some housemates. We can’t tell you when the dream of sub-$500 downtown living started to fade, but we can tell you where it’s making its desperate final stand: inside this van at Front and Parliament.

A Craigslist ad for the van touts its many attractive features as a $475-per-month living space. You get it “all to yourself,” it’s a “great deal,” and it’s a chance to “be part of the new digital economy.” (Presumably the dashboard radio is digital.) It’s “near to a park that has restrooms.” “Free breakfast” is included. There’s “no charge for extra guests.” And it “sleeps three to four people.” Somehow!

But there are some drawbacks. It is “for stationary use and not for driving.” The owner cautions against leaving the heat on “for more than eight to ten hours per day.” (Although the van is “very comfortable and warm in most weather.”) The plumbing is unusable in winter weather. And then there’s the fact that, judging by the van’s appearance, it is, at latest, a 1993 model, meaning it may be possible to buy one outright for not much more than a year’s rent. Also, you have to live in a parking lot, and the price doesn’t include gasoline for the generator, nor any apparent means of transporting gasoline to the generator, nor the gym membership a tenant will need if they want access to a shower.

The owner of the van didn’t respond to emails, but the ad says the vehicle is “ideal for students, vacationers, retirees, actors, artists, musicians and tech people.”

“I am a person who has been active in the community for many years as a film investor,” the ad reads. “I am currently working to solve the high cost of living.” Keep working, friend. Keep working.


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