McMansions could become boarding houses

July 16, 2008

I was forwarded this article in the NYT looking at desperate mortgage holders taking in boarders to make the payments. People in cities have rented out basement apartments as a matter of course, but apparently the trend is hitting the burbs now.

Take the leap of imagination..  McMansions with 5+ bedrooms by the 1,000s in exurbia land, purchased with unsustainable loans. Many of the bedrooms are unoccupied anyway, since the average family size has been declining and many of the exurbers are DINKs. Imagine if the breadwinners of the household get laid off and ca’t find suitable work. You have 4, 5, 6 empty bedrooms. Go into the boarding house business. Potential borders include other ex-mortgage holders who don’t want to leave the area, inner city refugees, and those employed in the personal services industry. I could imagine that there would be legal issues, ADA, etc. but it’s a thought, maybe a thought whose time has come.

If you are in Asheville, North Carolina, you can tour a boarding house museum that has been preserved as a memorial to a (then) well known author of the early 20th century, Thomas Wolfe. His mom ran the house as a source of income. Get a taste of boarding house life there.

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