A famous short story by Tama Janowitz, called “ The Slaves in New York ” (a short-story collection called “Slaves of New York” was made into a movie), was about New York City renters who couldn’t afford to move because rents were so high. Whatever their relationship with their roommate, they were stuck.
[Eleanor] lives with her boyfriend Stash in the Village. Stash is a graffiti artist who complains a lot, while Eleanor makes him elaborate meals. One night she goes to a party and meets Mikell, a handsome South African writer. They make a date and meet at the White Horse Tavern. It turns out that Mikell lives with a woman named Millie, who owns a co-op. Millie and Mikell fight as much as Eleanor and Stash do but, because neither can afford their own apartment, they are trapped.
Now, due to the huge decline in house prices, many Californians face a similar slavery. As a friend of mine put it,
Anyone like my parents, who paid cash for their houses, are kinda stuck living where they are, or they’ll take a giant financial hit.