By some measures, the South Bay is a harder place than even San Francisco to find a home. San Jose rents in 2019 are projected to increase by 3.9 percent this year, slightly faster than in S.F. And last year, a 900-square-foot Palo Alto house that had sold for about t $900,000 in 2008 was put on the market for an incredible $2.59 million, or about $2,886 per square foot.
But if you’re trawling through Craigslist for a sad place to live — such as, oh, hmm, maybe paying $950/month to squeeze into a 130-square-foot bedroom in a five-bedroom house that appears to only have a microwave and once-a-week laundry access — you have new competition: kitties.
The Mercury-News reported yesterday that instead of renting to actual humans, a man in the Willow Glen section of San Jose leased the apartment behind his house to two cats. Specifically, one David Callisch rented the $1,500 studio to one Troy Good, who set up his daughter’s two cats there since he’s not able to keep them in his own place. Looked at one way, we’re doomed. Looked at another way, Good can also be construed as a potential victim of the housing crisis who had to find a solution to a problem, and since he just so happens not to be a heartless bastard, this is how he handled it.
And get this: The cats are named Tina and Louise, after the daughters on Bob’s Burgers. (They link to a supposed attached Instagram account, but @tina_and_louise belongs to some ducks.) They seem well-loved, and Callisch checks on them daily. The article decently quotes a homelessness advocate to contrast these cats’ housing situation with the reality of homelessness in the ever-more-dizzyingly pricey Silicon Valley, but on behalf of everybody: awwww.
Granted, people generally suck and animals are wonderful companions who reduce stress and increase life expectancy, but we’re in a major emergency here and human tenants aren’t likely to deposit headless mice in the envelope with the rent check. However, the Merc sort of buried the lede just a little bit — from the perspective of anyone whose blood might be boiling, anyway. The studio apartment is a relative bargain, although not exactly fit for human habitation:
For $1,500, Good and his cats got a decent deal. An average studio apartment in San Jose rents for $1,951 a month, according to RentCafe. But the unit Good is renting has no kitchen, which could bring the price down.
Oh, ya think? Callisch fully expected to rent that kitchen-less dingleberry to a real-life person who, presumably, can’t come and go into the property’s main house to boil water or toast their Pop-Tarts. Maybe one unintended consequence of the rise of Doordash and UberEats is that the property-owning class now regards the basic components of a human dwelling as optional amenities. Cook your burgers elsewhere.