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Nobody’s home



Being a homeowner is better than being a renter. For one, the former makes the house rules while the latter is bound by it.

For holidaymakers who want the extra feel of yuletide, staying at the setting of the 1983 holiday classic movie “A Christmas Story” should be an exciting option. However, a family can stay at the A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland, Ohio for a minimum of two nights and pay $3,995 per night.

A cheaper place to celebrate Christmas 2021 would have been at the Chicago house used for the 1990 film “Home Alone.” However, the iconic mansion of the fictional McCallister family was available for booking only for one day, last 12 December.

Contending with short-time accommodation may be less challenging than what San Diego-based Tiffany Ingalls encountered in one quirky Airbnb place she booked last year. A video of the apartment she posted on TikTok went viral because of the many notes and sheets written with instructions and rules hanging and laying all over the place.

The notices guide guests on how to open the shower curtain, which glass to use for drinking, and holding a toothbrush, where the light switch is located, how to check out, etc. Laminated signs read: “No smoking,” “Quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.,” “No open flames, no exceptions,” “No candles, incense, matches.”

If not overwhelming house rules, renters have to deal with a lousy floor plan or unwanted occupants.

Another viral TikTok video shows an advertised New York City apartment with a $2,200 monthly rental. Its big windows give the living room a cheery ambiance only to be spoiled by an awkwardly situated shower and toilet cubicles in the opposite corners.

Last month, Japanese leader Fumio Kishida reoccupied the official residence of the prime minister in Tokyo after being unused for nine years. The place is said to be haunted by ghosts of cabinet officials killed by soldiers in a 1936 failed coup d’etat. His two predecessors did not live there to avoid bumping into the dead’s spirits reportedly walking its hallways.

An Indian woman from a Kolkata slum is bent on living in what she claims her rightful home by evicting the authorities allegedly squatting there. A doubtful Delhi High Court, however, rejected Sultana Begum’s petition to be recognized as the property owner during the last week of 2021.

Choosy Begum is challenging the decision insisting that she is the widow of Mirza Mohammad Bedar Bakht, purported to be the great-grandson of India’s last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who owned the coveted 17th-century Red Fort before the British occupation.

The impoverished Begum, who survives on an $80 monthly pension, has spent the past decade petitioning authorities to recognize her as the rightful beneficiary of India’s imperial legacy, and of the Red Fort. The 68-year-old said she will continue to fight for her right even if it takes another decade. She is hopeful that the Indian government will soon give her the sprawling and pockmarked castle in New Delhi that was once the seat of Mughal power.