Sunday, July 18, 2010

Once upon an apartment...

Gather round boys and girls for a cautionary tale. The sort of tale that will make you rethink leaving the nest and staying close to your parents. This is no fairy tale. While some details have omitted, I promise you that this is no fictional story.

In February 2008 I decided it was time for some changes, most notably the city I called home and I my job. After securing employment I was left to scramble to find an apartment in a the non-rental season of Madison. After several run-ins with small, characterless, and all around uninspiring apartments, I found home.

I met with the young landlord and was surprised, but as time was of the essence, relieved that he was not interested in checking references or running my rental application. Considering that this apartment was in a dream of a neighborhood and oodles of character I was happy to leave that visit with the keys in my hand. Despite the fact it was dirty dirty, I was ready to move and start the next chapter of my life.

In the year and a half I lived at this humble abode, the low-lights include but are not limited to:
~an upstairs neighbor with a MAJOR herb addiction and "friends" who will pick fights and throw rocks at his windows at all hours of the night (which the landlord did nothing about...)
~next door neighbors who had violet, wall shaking fights at all hours of the night (which the landlord did nothing about...)
~a non-functional kitchen sink for over 2 weeks (don't worry, I was advised I could use the bathroom sink or tub...)
~a non-cooling fridge and freezer for over 2 weeks (don't worry, I was advised that if I filled both with bags of ice it would help keep by food from going bad...)
and the piece de la resistance
~a leaky toliet (don't worry after months of complaining, it was replaced...and I was only without indoor plumbing for like 3 days)
Look! My landlord was nice enough to cover the pipe with a random piece of cardboard and a rock to keep the sewage gas from leaking out.

Fast forward to August 2009. W and I, having a acquired a new home, needed to get rid of my apartment. I approached my landlord about renting the apartment. He was not on board for this initially. But after working with him and allowing him to choose the new tenant from all that I showed it to, he was willing to transfer the remainder of my lease to the new tenant. Or so he told me.

Then I noticed, a few months later, that I had never received my security deposit. And this my readers, is when the real shenanigans began. 9 months later and I still have yet to see said security deposit, but my reconnaissance mission is in motion.

My purpose here is not just to vent. It's to educate my fellow 20-somethings and renters to know their rights and not let others take advantage of them. For reals. Not to be preachy, but there are just some things that are not ok.

And in case you aren't sure of your renter rights, the Tenant Resource Center is pretty excellent.

And that, my friends, is the end of my political activism for the weekend.


Belle said...

In all my years of renting when I was single I only got a security deposit back once. That was because my father phoned the landlord and yelled at him.
Landlords always find a reason or excuse. I hope you get your money.

KatieTri's said...

That is the very reason why I decided not to let it slide this time. Way too often landlords get away things that are just not ok!