Rents are climbing back up in San Francisco and all the landlords with stuff they probably couldn't rent to anyone the last couple years are creeping back onto Craigslist, hoping to find new takers.

Ever since the pre-pandemic days of 2019, when there seemed to be fewer unreasonably priced sheds and hidey-holes on the Craigslist market than there had been a few years earlier, I've hesitated in posting the Apartment Sadness column, for lack of good material. Then the pandemic came, and everything felt less funny, and people actually scored some legit — even rent-controlled — deals if they chose to stay in town.

But as recent former Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho recently found out, being just in the market for an apartment upgrade, competition for apartments is as fierce as ever, especially if they're reasonably priced. Ho even was willing to move into a place in Oakland with an on-site, anti-vaxx, QAnon-friendly landlord because the price was right and there was a nice backyard — but Ho "was outbid by someone offering to pay more rent than the landlord was asking for."

Right. So, even though San Francisco is apparently an apocalyptic shadow of its former self, in the eyes of the national media and Elon Musk, you still can't find a decent one-bedroom for under $2,500, so what does that say?

A quick scan of Craigslist today, putting in the parameter of 1 bedrooms, in SF proper, for $1,900 or less, yielded a bevy of familiarly sad, nearly windowless hovels or shared spaces masquerading as stand-alone units.

The co-living spaces in SoMa aimed at recent college grads are back! Like this prison-chic number ($1,095/mo) with bunk beds and one of those squiggle mirrors from the 90s:

No camera angle is going to make this look pretty.

$1,850 will currently get you 340 square feet in Chinatown with, possibly, a ghostly shadow-wraith living across the light shaft. Or is that just a brick wall?


And if you head on out to Parkside, a landlord with very poor photography skills would like you to see this garden (basement) studio ($1,650/mo) which appears to be half ceiling. Hope you're not much over five feet tall!

At least there are windows.
It's a child's play kitchen, no?

The actual height clearance here is not provided, and maybe it's up to code? But the camera angle suggests that the photographer was bumping their head on the ceiling while trying to shoot this space. And won't those cabinet door bump into that beam?

They also couldn't figure out how to get vertical photos to show up on Craigslist, so I'll just present the bathroom photo as they did:

No, you're on drugs.

And here's another ceiling-hugging angle, with another view of that tiny stove:

Given the location in the Outer Sunset/Parkside, it seems highly likely that this was someone's unfinished or semi-finished basement until recently. And this is the kind of stuff Apartment Sadness was built on, people trying to make a buck on any old corner or closet because they could, because once upon a time people were clamoring to live here and paying through the nose to do so, and they would take a shower in their cramped kitchen or a shower next to their bed if they had to.

Anyone remember when somebody was trying to rent a "custom" furnished one-bedroom on Dolores Park for $6,800 back in 2015? Those were the days.

So, let me know if rents really start to tank all because CNN is wondering out loud if we're already a "failed city." But according to Craigslist, some number of fools are still trying to get apartments here — or, rather, a lot of landlords still seem to want a lot of money for very little, so that is saying something.

All previous Apartment Sadness columns on SFist.