Out From Under

Shakiya Robertson thought she had found a way get her family a home. She moved in, fixed the place up, made all the payments. Then she, like thousands of others in Detroit, was told that the house she thought she had purchased wasn’t actually hers.

Shadow Campus

An investigation into Boston’s off-campus housing.

  1. A House Jammed with Students, a Life of Promise Lost

    The fire that killed a Boston University student in a house filled with 13 other people and only one exit.

  2. Overcrowded and at Risk: A Way of Life, and Sometimes, Death for Student Tenants

    Examining the laws around off-campus housing and their lack of enforcement.

  3. A Devastating Mismatch: City vs. Scofflaw Landlords

    How the giants in the student rental trade do business.

The King of All Vegas Real Estate Scams

Before the market crashed and home prices tumbled, before federal investigators showed up and hauled away the community records, before her property managers pled guilty for conspiring to rig neighborhood elections, and before her real estate lawyer allegedly tried to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs and setting fire to her home, Wanda Murray thought that buying a condominium in Las Vegas was a pretty good idea.

Window Shopping

Dreaming of the perfect apartment.

Should anyone ever choose to remake and bastardize Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I propose an opening sequence re-imagined to reflect more contemporary preoccupations. The revised opening scene should be filmed against the backdrop of an early evening in Brooklyn. The throngs of suits coming home from their nine to five grinds in Manhattan would be emerging from the subway stairwells like ants from an anthill, rushing off down various streets towards their various homes and families and dinners. All except for the would-be protagonist who, as the crowd rushes past her, makes her way to the closed-for-the-night real-estate storefront opposite the subway station. Somewhere, “Moon River” might still be playing, as if it had never stopped. Disheveled, lugging her purse and gym bag, she pauses for a number of minutes to read listings she has already read, and which she committed to memory weeks ago: a studio on Pineapple Street; a loft on Gold Street; a townhouse on Argyle Street; a two-bedroom coop on First Place; a one-bedroom condo on Carlton Avenue; a brownstone on Henry Street. It’s fall and the leaves blow in eddies on the sidewalk. She gets cold and turns away from the window to walk off down the street just as dusk begins to arrive in earnest. The occasional “For Sale” sign swings on its hinges, and the story of the day ends only to begin again in the morning.