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Bitter Renter

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Essayist Sloane Crosley humorously tackles the renters' nightmare known as the major capital improvement: "I used to think of my not-moving as an investment, a kind of sedentary security. But now I think of myself as an ant who has just noticed the shadow of a shoe above her anthill. Indeed, the foot is already falling — the first rent rise from the M.C.I. has already been levied. And there's nothing I can do about it. In the grand game of rock (apartment), paper (lease), scissors (broker) that is New York real estate, the M.C.I. beats everything. Well, almost everything. It doesn't take into account, for example, the crack addict who has been sleeping in my vestibule for the past month."