For renters: New sites to explore
Looking for a new place to rent? The online search possibilities are many -- I covered some of them in this How-to -- and now there's one more for the list: RentWiki.com, which calls itself a cross between typical property-listing sites and social-media spots (like Wikipedia). You'll see information about places for rent plus details about neighborhoods submitted by current renters.
The page about Baltimore's Abell neighborhood, for instance, includes hyperlocal info (like which restaurants are good and which you "absolutely must avoid ... unless you are currently paying dues to a fraternity") plus this note from a resident: "A gentrified area such as Abell is doubtless safer than most parts of Baltimore, provided residents take a few cautionary measures. Window bars on first floor apartments are ubiquitous, while bars on second-floor windows are also a good idea due to the very architecture of rowhouses dictating that you share more than just a wall with your neighbor."
Another site for renters -- and landlords: Maryland Smoke Free Apartments, run by University of Maryland School of Law's Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy. The center says smoke that wends its way from one unit to another through air ducts is a problem for tenants and building owners alike.
The site has legal resources for renters and landlords, recommending to the latter that they restrict smoking in their units and not just the common areas. ("The number one cause of fire fatalities in Maryland is cigarette-related fires," the site says.)
Thoughts? I'm always happy to hear them. Chime in.