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San Francisco renters resort to bunk beds

By Virginia K. Smith  | September 29, 2015 - 12:12PM

We've been watching with a mixture of sympathy and schadenfreude as San Francisco's housing market has steadily surpassed the insanity of our own. (It's perversely comforting that at least somebody has it worse.) The latest development from out west: Some renters are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars per month to split a room—and a set of bunk beds. 

CityLab documents the phenomenon as follows:

"Group houses are one thing, but we are talking group bedrooms here. Renters are living a nightmare in order to pursue their dreams. [...] On Craigslist—the service that plain-old young adults use to find studios, one-bedroom apartments, and rooms in group houses all over the country—it’s not hard to find honest-to-goodness listings for bunk-bed shares, if you know where to look. They are sprinkled throughout the Bay Area like crumbs falling from the master’s table."

They also managed to pull several listings—all but one of them asking $700 or more per month—advertising a spot in a "share room," or one case, "$750 per bed for a three-bedroom." Some of these listings are for spots in so-called "hacker hostels" (no comment), which offer short-term stays to tech types. As you might expect, these housing set-ups tend to be rife with violations, and some landlords have already gotten themselves into hot water (though per San Francisco regulations, someone has to actually complain before the city steps into investigate this kind of rental). 

On the one hand, it makes some sort of sense: In a city tight on both space and affordability, moving into a shared room is a fairly logical next step. (And of course, in other segments of the housing market—most notably among recent immigrants in places like Chinatown—sharing a room to save cash is hardly a novel, shocking development.) On the other, does anyone really want to go back to a dorm-style (or camp-style) sleeping situation at these kinds of price points?  And by comparison, a search for terms like "share room" and "bunk bed" on New York's Craigslist housing section turned up essentially nothing, which is comforting, in its way. If you've seen any listings like this lurking around NYC's Craigslist options, let us know in the comments...


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