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Horrible Housing

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"If he knew how I was living, if he saw this place, it would make him sick."
Penny Fleck, Joker (2019)

Horrible Housing refers to a living space that is basically a hovel: cramped, messy, possibly pest-infested, and usually in the bad part of town. It may be poorly-maintained government housing or owned by a Cranky Landlord who refuses to spend on maintenance and repairs. This indicates that the inhabitants are poor and cannot afford to move somewhere better, or are suffering through a bad turn of events. The characters likely will complain about their living conditions and hope for greener pastures, especially if there are wealthier characters in the work or if they used to live somewhere nicer themselves. However, sometimes characters will choose to live in bad conditions for various reasons, such as the "charm" and the surrounding community, or they may be Too Desperate to Be Picky about shelter. Trashy Trailer Home is a subtrope, which treats the wheeled sort as the worst place imaginable to live.

This trope is the antithesis to Big Fancy House, which is a house that is spacious, clean, well-furnished, and usually inhabited by the rich; works may utilize both to contrast its inhabitants. Also contrast Pottery Barn Poor, where a supposedly poor family has a nice dwelling by normal standards, and "Friends" Rent Control, for when an apartment is much nicer than its inhabitants should be able to afford.

Compare The Alleged House, which refers to a housing structure that is barely holding itself together — there can be overlap, but the difference is that Horrible Housing is primarily used to highlight a character's poverty. For example, a seedy, cockroach-infested studio apartment in an otherwise functional building counts as this, but not The Alleged House. Also compare Cardboard Box Home, the more extreme version. If someone lives in a derelict building that's not even a residential structure, it may overlap with Non-Residential Residence. See also the Lonely Bachelor Pad, which may devolve into this if said bachelor is very uncaring or apathetic.

Similar tropes include Bad Bedroom, Bad Life, where the poor state of a character's bedroom specifically reflects their life struggles; Bath of Poverty, for when the bathroom specifically is rundown; House-Hunting Montage, which often shows houses like this; and Neglected Garden, for when a depressed character isn't taking care of their garden.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • GTO: The Early Years: After Eikichi turns her apartment into Trash of the Titans and then drops the son of the tenants' association out the window on a bungee cord, his mom kicks him and Ryuji out, getting them a bug-infested apartment in a seedy part of town. There's no lock, there's a disgusting shared toilet, the floor is rotting through, and the walls have mushrooms growing in them.
  • Kill la Kill: The Mankanshoku family, as well as their houseguest protagonist Ryuko, live in a squalid, one-bedroom apartment in a section of town that would have to undergo massive renovation to be considered rundown because their eldest daughter Mako is a "No-Star" student at Honnouji Academy. They're shown to be very happy there and, in an episode where they experience upward mobility due to Mako climbing the ranks of the school's hierarchy, they become much more distant and snobbish as their housing situation improves.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami's dark origins and cold attitude are highlighted by the squalid one-room apartment she lives in.
  • Uzumaki: Kirie and her family have their home destroyed by a storm, and are forced to move into one of the cheapest houses in the town; one of the ancient terraced houses that have no furniture or room separation, where two other poor families were shown living earlier in the story. When the spirals start to destroy the town, everyone is forced to move into these terraced houses, as they're the only ones that haven't fallen apart. Kirie and her family are kicked out of what used to be their house by the people who sought shelter there. By that point, things were so dire that nobody cared how crappy the houses actually were.

    Comic Books 
  • The Boys: On arriving in New York, Hughie gets himself a cheap place, and Billy warns him about the risk of finding blood-specked sperm coming from a weirdo outside his door. This exact thing happens courtesy of the landlord, although he was paid to do it by Billy.
  • At one point, after getting driven out of California, the Runaways ended up being so hard-up for living quarters that they stayed in an actual tenement in 1900s New York City (it's a long story). They had one room for all six of them and had to put up a bedsheet to separate the boys and girls.
  • One Wolverine comic showed him staying in an apartment that was completely empty save for a pile of newspapers to sleep on.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Bleak Midwinter (TheLoud): Tom offers Ignis the use of the Gaunts' shack, which the Riddle family has inherited. Ignis is overwhelmed by the generosity of letting him have the former home of such an ancient and pure family — until they go together to inspect it. Upon seeing the dirt, rot, fungus, discarded bones, structural weakness, and general squalor of the place, Tom apologises to Ignis for ever offering it, and brings it down with a well-placed shove to a supporting beam, stating his intention to raze it and build a replacement.
  • Tattered Capes Under a Shattered Moon: Since Colin and Dragon don't have any money besides what they got from selling their diamonds, they have to stay in a small, musty apartment right next to a train line.
  • In Half the Sunrise Harry and Theo are forced to share a flat in Knockturn Alley.
    Theo paid the hag the first month's rent and then stood there looking around as she stumped out the door. The flat was a dim, poky set of three rooms: one a bathroom, one a rudimentary kitchen, one a large room that had obviously been divided into partitions with curtains or the like in the past, given the hooks Theo could see in the ceiling. The cabinet doors were crooked. The loo worked, but begrudgingly. There was a bathtub with feet that looked as if they might come to life and rake them like a cat's claws, but no shower. And the walls looked as if a dragon had thrown up on them.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The Blues Brothers: Elwood lives in a ramshackle Chicago flophouse right next to the subway line. The train, in his own words, goes by "so often you won't even notice it."
  • Candyman is set against the backdrop of the Cabrini Green project housing in Chicago, which was notorious for its crime and poverty rates.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Buckets' poverty is exaggerated with their house being a run-down, wooden dump in the middle of an otherwise normal city. It's so shabby that there aren't even any actual rooms, and his grandparents all sleep in the middle of the house.
  • Dasepo Sonyo: Poor Girl lives with her mother and little brother in a tiny one-room apartment. There's no bathroom indoors, so when her mother gets bedridden, she resorts to relieving herself in a bottle.
  • Delusions of Grandeur: One of the more memetic scenes has Don Salluste Disguised in Drag hide in his former lackey's room, and is promptly horrified by how run-down it is. On learning that it's where Salluste lodges his household, he immediately compliments him on how nice it is.
  • The Great Muppet Caper: The Happiness Hotel that Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo stay in is extremely cheap, but it's also in very poor repair. There's even a full musical number Lampshading how run-down the place is.
    Fozzie: Aaah, if that's the Happiness Hotel, I'd hate to see what the sad one looks like!
  • Joker: Arthur Fleck's apartment building is poorly-lit, badly maintained, and cramped, to the point that his mentally ill mother Penny continuously writes to Thomas Wayne in hopes that he'll move them somewhere better. In contrast, the Wayne estate depicted in the film is incredibly large for a family of three.
  • The Last Black Man In San Francisco: Jimmy shares a room in a garage with his friend Mont, a room that has almost no room to move. The only reason they can live there is that it's Mont's grandfather's place. They also live in a neighborhood contaminated with toxic waste and with a long, unreliable bus ride to get anywhere. This contrasts with the Big Fancy House that Jimmy claims is rightfully his and frequently visits.
  • In Midnight Cowboy, Rizzo and Joe live together in a condemned building. There's no electricity, a long flight of stairs (which Rizzo struggles with because of his disability), and its facilities are next to nothing. It's cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and there's practically nothing for them to do there except listen to the radio and sleep. The place is generally dingy, dark, and cramped. They cook their food on the one stove hob, but without a proper fridge, most of it comes from cans. It's never explicitly said what Rizzo is sick with, but it wouldn't be surprising if black mould or asbestos worsened his condition.
  • Chartham Place from No Kidding is, as Richard puts it, a bit of a dump when the Robinsons arrive. They, with the help of Tandy and Will, manage to spruce the place up in no time flat, however.
  • Parasite: The poor Kim family lives in a cramped, smelly semi-basement in a street that easily floods. This is contrasted with the rich Park family's lovely, spacious home.
  • Queen of Katwe: Phiona and her family live in a shack with no running water. Before joining the Young Pioneers, she'd hardly ever taken a bath.
  • Shoplifters: The family lives in a tiny, 2-room traditional Japanese home that's filled to the brim with stuff, reflecting their poverty and desperate situation. Shota doesn't have his own room but has built himself a fort in the corner that he sleeps in. Osamu and Nobuyo have to wait for everyone else to leave the house in order to have sex because they ordinarily just sleep in the middle of the dining room and have no privacy.
  • Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3: Peter's apartment is one of these. It's small, ugly and the door sticks. Presumably this is because he went with the cheapest option, being stuck in Perpetual Poverty (not that it stops Mr. Ditkovich from taking what little money he can get).
  • Season of Miracles: Rafer and his dad live in a run-down, dirty, badly-lit house.
  • For much of Trainspotting, the main characters live together in a heroin den that's an apartment in an abandoned building with almost no light, filth everywhere, and exposed insulation. Once Tommy starts doing drugs, he moves from a fairly normal apartment into a place like that. Once Mark gets clean and into a straight job (ironically real estate, where he's showing off fancy apartments), he moves into a small but clean studio, signifying his rise in life- which quickly becomes more hovel-like once his old junkie friends move in with him.

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: The homes of the Outer Party members and the Proles are all filthy, dilapidated, and in a very poor state of repair. In particular, the Victory Mansion apartment block where Winston lives is in a constant state of breakdown: the lifts are always out of order, repairs around the apartments are strictly DIY, and the only thing that works are the omnipresent telescreens used to spy on the residents. Not that the Inner Party residences are much of an improvement...
  • The Big Over Easy: Humpty Dumpty is found dead near his home in Grimm's Row, where he lived in a dingy, tiny room in a boardinghouse run by the world's meanest landlady in a bad part of town. The police are shocked by this fall from grace, as he was once a well-respected local luminary who recently publicly claimed to have a whole lot of money. Prometheus also lives there, due to his poverty and political persecution that resulted from his long imprisonment by Zeus. It turns out that that room wasn't Humpty's actual apartment, just his office, but one of his other residencies was just as bad- a nearly-abandoned row of flats filled with mold and about to be demolished. The reason for these poor living conditions was that Humpty was involved in all sorts of illegal money-laundering and suspected people were out to kill him.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: As in its adaptations, Charlie's family lives in a one-room shack that is so small that his four grandparents are all forced to sleep in the same bed.
  • In Barbara Wersba's The Dream Watcher Mrs. Woodfin lives in a dilapidated house with broken-down furniture and a fireplace full of milk cartons. The ceiling is caving in and the floorboards are rotten.
  • Eleanor & Park: Eleanor, her mother, stepfather, and four younger siblings all live in a tiny two-bedroom house. The five kids are all crammed in one room, with the girls in a bunk bed and the boys sleeping on the floor. There’s only one bathroom which is attached to the kitchen with no door and they use the bathtub to do laundry.
  • The Hunger Games: Present as a general rule, given that the authoritarian government controls everything. Poor locations like District 11 and 12 generally have worn, run-down, cramped housing to emphasize their districts' poverty, while individuals and Districts favored by the Capitol (like Districts 1 and 2, as well as Victor's Villages in every district) are more glamorous.
  • The Kingston Cycle: Avia lives in a small apartment in a run-down tenement building since her wealthy family cut her off. Grace is taken aback when she learns that the building is owned by a company owned by her ex-fiancé's family.
  • The Light Jar: The previous owner of the cottage Nate and his mum move into died just a few months ago, so Nate's mum expects the cottage to be in decent shape. Instead, they find that it hasn't been maintained in years. The paint's worn off, there's a hole in the window, the garden is a jungle of weeds, and a chicken has moved in and covered the sofa with droppings.
  • Matilda: Her Evil Aunt's Financial Abuse forces Miss Honey to rent a farmer's shed. It has no furnishings, appliances, or running water, and even the farmer thought it was unfit for habitation, but Miss Honey takes pride in keeping it (and herself) as neat and tidy as possible.
  • Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World: For the first nine years of her life, Karen and her mother Lorena lived in their family's mansion, which by that point was practically a ruin, with the roof falling in, missing windows, and an ant infestation. Karen slept in the basement, which had a giant hole in the wall. After Lorena dies, Isabelle moves in and has the place repaired.
  • Pachinko: After Sunja and Isak move to Japan, they live in a very small apartment with a tin roof and thin walls that allow everything to be heard, and located in a bad part of town with untrustworthy, criminal neighbors. Eventually they have two households with six people living there. Despite the crappy conditions, they are relatively well-off because they own the place, a fact they are encouraged to conceal to avoid inspiring jealousy. While some of this is due to the family's low income (Isak is a poorly-paid minister), it's also because, as Koreans, they aren't allowed to live anywhere nicer.
  • Red Dwarf: Last Human: Lister is sentenced to a long stay in a Mind Prison for crimes against the GELF State, and though the VR scenario allows him civilian housing, his virtual home is easily the most disgusting place he could have ended up in: the bedroom is putrid even by Lister's standards, the kitchen is befouled with dirty dishes and cooking fat, the fridge is overflowing with putrescent gunk, and the neighbors are unconscionably noisy. Everything here is tailor-made to make Lister feel as uncomfortable and disgusted as possible, and it's so bad that Lister does everything he can to avoid staying at home... not that it's any better outside.
  • Rosaleen among the Artists: Rosaleen spends about five years living with her sister Katie and her family in a tiny, filthy, run-down, airless apartment where the Elevated train is always making the walls shake.
  • The Speed of Sound: In The Sound of Echoes, Caitlin's husband and kids go into Witness Protection in Harvey, North Dakota. Her kids are dismayed when they see their new home - a small, run-down house with no dishwasher, the washer and dryer crammed into one of the bathrooms, cracks on the ceiling in almost every room, and stains on the carpet combined with a smell that leads the kids to think someone died in there.
  • Unforgiven: Lilith lives with her brother Bruce and mother in a derelict house in a poor part of town. The roof is caving in, the garden is abandoned and full of weeds and there are problems with running water because of faulty plumbing. Lilith's mother works in many part-time jobs, which don't bring her much money, and in any case, she spends most on Bruce, who is seriously ill. Lilith calls her house at one point "a rusting eyesore". This contrasts with Rich Bitch Chloe's huge white mansion filled with marble.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Although the apartment from 2 Broke Girls has a fairly large living room and a small yard, it's otherwise not that great — it's in a bad part of New York, the utilities barely work, the girls have to share a bedroom, and at one point it's got a rusty nail pointing up in the middle of the floor. (Yes, someone steps on it.) As pointed out by the title, neither Max nor Caroline has much money as they're diner waitresses who run a struggling cupcake business.
  • Birds of a Feather: As shown in "Going, Going, Gone", Sharon used to live in one of these. Apparently, there's an opium den upstairs, leading to Sharon having to use the toilet a specific way, lest she gets exposed to its stench. Oh, and there's violence and gunshots outside too.
  • Hill Street Blues had the Hill Street precinct cover whole blocks with housing like this. Pretty much every episode showed the police officers answering a call at one of these. It was explored when a local politician tried to bring attention to the horror of these living conditions by moving into one of them. He showed how bad the building was maintained by taking a group of reporters on a tour, where he pushed against a window to demonstrate the poor installation and ended up falling through the window to his death.
  • How I Met Your Mother: In season two, Lily is broken up from Marshall and searching for a place to live. The only place she finds is a tiny one-room apartment where the toilet is in the kitchen and the Murphy bed can't pull down all the way without leaning on the opposite wall. One night it gets stuck and when Lily manages to pull it down, it pulls the wall down with it.
  • Jessica Jones (2015) lives in a dingy and sparsely furnished apartment-turned-office, with a perpetually broken front door.
  • In Lodge 49, Long Beach's economy was ruined when a cult attempted to turn the city into a Company Town back in the sixties, and thus many of the recurring cast live in less-than-ideal conditions. Liz's apartment is small, has a broken dining table, and the bedroom is dominated by an old pool slide. Dud lives in a cramped old trailer on the outskirts of town. And Champ is squatting in the abandoned Orbis factory, where he is apparently competing for sovereignty with other squatters.
  • The Magicians (2016): Season 5 reveals that Hades has been on Earth, holed up in a crappy apartment in Queens playing video games and gorging on junk food. It's a sign of how miserable the God of the Underworld is that he would stoop to such living conditions.
  • Maid: Alex's daughter, Maddy, gets sick from a black mold infestation while staying at the subsidized housing. Alex is also wary of the fact that it's a halfway house for newly released criminals.
  • Maniac (2018)
    • Owen Milgrim has been trying to live apart from his rich-but-neglectful family, but the rent in New York is so high that he can only afford a one-room apartment in a particularly depressing building - and even then the rent eats up most of his salary. As such, after losing his job to a long-term furlough, his worsening financial situation prompts him to take part in the Neberdine drug trials.
    • Annie Landsberg lives in a sharehouse, her room being a cramped, cluttered mess that she can barely keep in order. Though it at least looks a little more welcoming than Owen's apartment, it's still pretty dingy. Plus, Annie's addiction to the drug trial's "A" pill means that she's having trouble paying the rent as well.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the New York basement Lillian rents Kimmy and Titus definitely falls into this — it's in a gang-infested area, very cramped for two people, Kimmy lives in what's basically the closet, the floors are just "painted dirt", the shower is in the kitchen, and they have no door that separates their individual spaces. Titus lives there because he's a Starving Artist but Kimmy, who was trapped in a bunker for over a decade, doesn't know any better and finds the place charming. The show is a comedy that runs on Kimmy's pluck and perk, so many of the place's failings (such as "a water stain that looks like a face") are Played for Laughs.
  • In Caroline in the City, Richard is a struggling artist living in Manhattan. As a result, not only does he live in a tiny apartment in the slums, but he has to get creative to even get that apartment.
    Richard: I saw in the paper that there was an apartment available.
    Landlord: I haven't put an ad out yet.
    Richard: Not an ad, this headline: "Two Killed in Mob-Style Hit".

  • The crux of Pulp's "Mile End" concerns a group of desperate squatters forced to live in an abandoned 15th-floor apartment in a Mile End tower block: the place was boarded up to start with, it "smelled as if someone had died", the kitchen sink is blocked, the bathroom sink is gone, someone keeps pissing in the lift, and the neigbourhood is a crime-ridden hellhole where cars are regularly set on fire. According to Jarvis Cocker, this was actually based on a nine-month period stuck in one such apartment - which was so bad that Cocker was convinced that the previous tenant had murdered his wife and stuffed her down the drain (hence the sink blockage).

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the world and ruleset of Shadowrun, most people who live in Squatter or Low lifestyles live in horrible housing. The former, by definition, are illegally squatting in abandoned homes or office buildings and lack an official address or access to the public grid, so no power, running water, matrix access or other utilities. On top of this you live in constant fear of having police show up to evict you: About the only positive thing that can be said for Squatter lifestyle is that at least you have housing, unlike the ones living at Street lifestyle. Low lifestyle means living in places like one-room apartments in the shabbiest part of your Mega City's projects, or in housing owned by the Mega that owns you; your every expense is monitored and the utilities can and will be cut off several times a week during rationing. Gameplay-wise, living at below Low lifestyle means automatically forfeiting several things most players would take for granted, like banking services, access to public transport, or not having all the stuff you don't carry around stolen during a run.
  • Ars Magica: Characters' living conditions affect their aging dice rolls. Once they hit middle age, people in bad housing are more likely to get sick, suffer permanent losses to their game statistics, and die early.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Living conditions at the "squalid" level, like a vermin-infested boarding house, expose a character to violence, disease, and deprivation with little hope of aid or legal recourse.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Hive cities are literal mountains of urban accretion, holding billions of people in slums that make the Kowloon Walled City look like high-class real estate. Power is intermittent, gang warfare is routine and the greatest luxuries a man can dream of in these hellholes are natural sunlight and non-recycled food.

  • tick, tick... BOOM!: As a Starving Artist in New York City, Jon lives in a tiny, rundown apartment with no buzzer, no washing machines, and a shower in the kitchen. His former roommate Michael left the life for a cushy job in advertising and the song "No More" contrasts their rundown housing to Michael's nice new apartment.
    No more
    Spitting out my Ultra Brite
    On top of dirty dishes
    In the one and only sink
    Hello, to my walk-in closets
    Tidy as Park Avenue
    Hello, my butcher block table
    I could get used
    I could get used
    I could get used to you...

    Video Games 
  • Bad Mojo is set within Eddie's On the Waterfront, a run-down San Francisco bar with an apartment overhead. The bar's owner, Eddie Batitto is an alcoholic slob who's stopped caring for the place since his wife's death. When Eddie's tenant, Roger Samms has his soul made into a cockroach by a mysterious locket, the bar's infrastructure becomes several times more dangerous. At one point, Roger even has to disable the pilot light on a gas stove to cross an obstacle, which eventually leads to the bar exploding when the water heater ignites.
  • Baldur's Gate III: Fraygo's Flophouse is a cheap motel in the Outer City; a night there is described as sharing a bed with ten other people and hoping that nobody has Sticky Fingers. A man was murdered in his room and nobody noticed, and worst of all, it's an active hunting ground for vampires; Astarion mentions stealing people from there because they were the kind of people nobody would notice if they went missing.
  • Black & White 2: Hovels are the cheapest, smallest, and nastiest way to house your villagers. They're also a deliberate cruelty since you need to spend Tribute on the ability to build them. The default home has a lower production cost per resident and generates happiness instead of unhappiness, so the point of building hovels is to make people cramped and miserable.
  • Choice of the Deathless: The cheapest housing option for the player character is a rickety shoebox of an apartment above a bar in the very worst part of town. Which leads to a Funny Moment when Wakefield first shows up for a visit.
  • City-Building Series: All early housing is like this; cramped, ugly (to the point of preventing nearby housing from evolving), unsanitary (as residents scavenge for food and water) and crime-ridden (especially if there's no police presence). It's in the player's best interest to make sure as much housing as possible has access to amenities (food, water, health, religion, and entertainment), since this gives more workers the same amount of space, reduces crime, and pays more in taxes.
    • In Pharaoh, some housing will be horrible by necessity if you want to keep industries staffed (buildings are staffed when a recruiter walks by a house). It's easier to maintain one large block of high-end housing to provide the workforce and huts to provide access to labor than to provide services to people living in the Industrial Ghetto (unrest is determined by the percentage of people living in squalor compared to those in estates and residences, as huts only hold five people this ensures the poverty-stricken population remains low).
  • In Dragon Age II, Merrill lives in a run-down one-room hovel in the Alienage, the poorest section of Kirkwall. It's implied that all of the neighboring houses are of comparable size and squalor.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The two cheapest houses you can buy are squalid one-room shacks on the Imperial City waterfront and over a canal in the Wretched Hive of Bravil. The seller of the former reacts with a surprised "Why?" when you express interest, while that of the latter bluntly says that "the smell will soon make you forget how ugly it is."
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, Trevor Philips' domicile of choice is a squalid little trailer in Sandy Shores, and given that he's a meth-addicted alcoholic gas-huffing Ax-Crazy psychopath with dubious personal hygiene and a habit of trying to flush corpses down the toilet, it likely hasn't been cleaned in years. Furthermore, Trevor insists on staying here no matter how much money he makes off heists and the meth trade. After kidnapping Martin Madrazo's wife, Patricia, she actually tidies up the place and even makes a start on gardening, but when Trevor is forced to return her, the trailer quickly returns to its usual putrescence.
  • Jones in the Fast Lane starts players off at the low-cost housing space, which looks fairly old and run-down. Unless you upgrade to the more expensive Le Security apartments, there's always a chance you'll get robbed if you live there.
  • In The Park, Lorraine's house is a dingy, filthy, dilapidated-looking wreck with only three rooms and a decidedly uninviting decor. Lorraine can barely afford to keep the lights on at the best of times, and recalls spending a lot of time reading to Callum whenever the power got shut off; for good measure, it's not uncommon for the kitchen to be littered with empty liquor bottles. It's also Lorraine's Black Bug Room: the Bogeyman traps her here as part of her ongoing Mind Rape, decorating the place with blood, mocking letters, burning dolls, and hanged corpses. Of course, following the events of the game, Lorraine's housing situation becomes even more depressing: she most commonly sleeps in war zones, ghost cities and ruins; the one time she's seen renting a nice hotel room, it's to commit suicide.
  • Resident Evil Village: Dimitrescu lives in a luxurious castle, Beneviento lives in a mansion by a cliffside with a nice view, and Heisenberg lives in a large bustling factory. Moreau, however, lives in a disgusting run-down harbor in an abandoned reservoir. His room is just a cramped cabin with an old television and a few personal belongings.
  • In Tropico, if you don't build any housing, your citizens will be forced to build and live in shacks, which have the lowest housing quality rating in the game (5). Even the lowest quality housing you can build (bunkhouses and tenements) is considered much better, with quality ratings of 25 and 35 (in comparison, apartments have a rating of 60, standalone middle-class houses have a rating of 70, and luxury houses have a rating of 95).
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines:
    • The first haven you get in the game is a one-room apartment above a pawn shop in a particularly grungy part of Santa Monica. The room is filthy, the bathroom's worse, there's no sheets on the bed, and there's nothing to cover the windows with - indicating that you'd be fried in the sun if you were crazy enough to actually sleep here.
    • The Nosferatu haven. A gift from Primogen Gary Golden to Nosferatu players, it's hidden in the sewers of downtown Los Angeles, and most of it consists of bare concrete except for the bits covered by collected decorations. As dank as it is, this is actually an improvement over the first haven, given that it's much more spacious and better protected.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kathy from Daughter for Dessert describes her studio apartment as “crappy,” but it’s mostly an informed attribute since we don’t really get to see its condition. All we really know about it is that it’s small.

  • Awful Hospital: Lady Celia, Bandit Princess!, tries to pretend that her ramshackle shack in the woods is "some wretched vagrant's filthy hovel". Fern isn't fooled but lets the lie pass.
  • Shot and Chaser: Olly's housing isn't ideal, showing wear and tear, outright damage and the small bare-bones place is also a mess because Olly is struggling with depression and the recent loss of the use of one arm.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Otto the bus driver lives in a run-down, completely unfurnished apartment, and is temporarily evicted in "The Otto Show". In "You Only Move Twice", he's amazed that the Simpsons' house has windows.
    • Played for Laughs in "Realty Bites" when Marge starts work as a realtor and tries to sell some truly desperate properties. One house's front wall falls off mid-showing, exposing Lenny eating cereal in an empty, dingy room.
      Lenny: ...Please don't tell anyone how I live.
    • In the episode "My Fair Laddy", Groundskeeper Willie lives in a tiny shack (basically a glorified tool shed) with a leaking roof, indicative of his feral, uncivilized condition. Once Lisa teaches him how to be a gentleman, he moves out of the shack and sings a song called "I Could be Indoors All Night". After he becomes dissatisfied with civilized life, he longs for the shack and moves back in.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Gideon Rises", Soos is revealed to live with his grandmother in a small and broken down house in the middle of town. The kitchen cabinets are damaged, the wallpaper is torn up in places and his grandma can barely afford to support them, hence why Soos works at the Shack.
  • Downtown: Alex's first apartment on his own is a real shithole, and they even talk about how he had to jump at the opportunity to get it without checking it out first because of how difficult it is to find affordable housing in New York. Jen's apartment isnt much better, and she still has to have a roommate. The less said about Goats apartment, the better.

    Real Life 
  • Sadly Truth in Television in the case of shantytowns, slums and favelas. More often than not built by hand without access to electricity, plumbing or clean water. Malnutrition and crime of every kind are virtually guaranteed in these places.
  • The Cabrini-Green Projects were an attempt by the city of Chicago to provide its citizens with inexpensive, low-income housing. The end result was an unmitigated disaster: vandalism, neglect, cockroaches, rats and outright gang warfare spiraled well out of control. The list of issues it had would take up this entire page.


Video Example(s):


"No More!"

In this song number, Michael is excited to be moving out of the horrible, cramped apartment he shared with Jon to a more spacious and luxurious place.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorribleHousing

Media sources: