Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Subletting Saga

**Warning, this post contains high amounts of bitching, moaning and speculation**

I have mentioned in previous posts my dislike with this subletting gig, right? I mean, the lady seems nice enough but I’m not sure I can trust her. Frankly, I don’t know what is going on with her – so I’m going to post “the low down.”

I found her ad on Craigslist back in September. She had a two bedroom pad in a good area that she wanted to sublease – fully furnished – for a couple of months. The price wasn’t awesome, but it was a lot better than the quotes from corporate housing I had received. I took a chance, gave her a call and we made a deal.

Muffin and I went to see her a few days later to give her the first months rent as well as the security deposit. We toured the apartment – it was nice, clean and the furnishings were lovely. It only had one single bed, but I figured that I could survive on an inflatable mattress. One of the bedrooms was filled from floor to ceiling with books, but the apartment had a loft – so I figured I could use that instead. In other words, it wasn’t exactly as described but I felt like I could make do.

Land lady and I conversed for a bit and it came to light that she had recently been divorced, that her husband was English (which accounts for the antiques), that she was used to living in the more expensive area of town, that her one and only son was in college and that she was going to be traveling a lot for work in the next few months and felt that subletting the apartment was better than paying rent on one that would be empty 90% of the time. Ok, that’s cool. We agreed that I would move my stuff in the following Monday.

On moving day land lady was not quite ready to go. She was trying to get her stuff out at the same time I was trying to get my stuff in. She hadn’t made a key for me and asked if we could meet the next day and get one made then. Which was fine – but I honestly thought that would be the end of our interactions – at least until the rent was due. Not by a long shot.

Since Muffin and I moved in I have heard from her at least twice a week for one thing or another. First, she needed to pick up some things she forgot in her haste to move out. Then, she needed to pick up some more things. Then, she received the electricity bill for October and wanted to drop it off for me. I was all “WTF? I wasn’t here for the majority of the billing cycle!” but figured it was easier to pay the bill up front than try and figure out who owes what when I move out.

She left me the payment stub and I couldn’t help but notice that there was an overdue amount on it. She told me not to worry about that and just pay for the current month. She would pick the money up the next morning from the mailbox. The next morning, Muffin and I came out around 7AM and before I could get to the mailbox – she pounced on me! I was startled to say the least, but I had the envelope in my pocket and gave it to her. Next came the gas bill – this one had an overdue amount of over $400! Then, she wanted money for the cable bill – but didn’t have a paystub for it. The icing on the cake was when she asked for the rent check a WEEK EARLY!

During this time I was actively seeking a new home and there were a couple of times when I thought I might end up renting instead of buying. I researched the apartment complex Muffin and I were staying at and discovered that the rent for our unit was actually $500 less than what she was charging me. Not that I blame the lady for charging a little more – but it got me thinking. When she asked for the rent early I came to a few completely unfounded conclusions.

A) She is flat out of cash. Why else is she subletting her place when she clearly isn’t out of town as much as she said she was going to be. Also, what is up with all those really, really, overdue utility accounts?
B) She is trying to live/maintain a lifestyle that she was accustomed to.
C) She might try and scam me out of my deposit.

Like I said, these assumptions are without any proof. Still, I agreed to pay the rent a week early and told the land lady that I would put it in the mailbox when I got home - some time between 6PM and 6:30. We pulled up that evening around 5:45 and I noticed her car – but she didn’t get out. I walked to the mail boxes, put the envelope in and ushered Muffin upstairs. Then, I spun around and saw her sneaking up to the mailbox not 30 seconds after I had put the envelope in! I waved to her and she gave a sheepish wave back.

Just when I thought the visits might slow down – at least until she received next month’s bills – she calls me last Wednesday because she needed some paperwork that is in the apartment. Of course I said “fine.” Then, I get home and discover that she has actually taken a shower in the apartment! The floor of the bath is damp, there is a towel over the shower rod and a washcloth that has pink lipstick smeared on it. Is it me, or is that a bit intrusive? I mean, I know it’s her place – but technically I’M the one paying rent! That should mean I get a little privacy, right? I was creeped out. Not going to lie.

Since then, she has come into the apartment and taken a shower TWICE while Muffin and I have been at school/work! I am at the point where I feel like I ought to call her and ask what is going on - but I'm afraid of getting kicked out with no where to stay for the rest of the month.

So, that is the saga of subletting from down and out former well-to-do lady who is, in my opinion, probably living out of her car and struggling to make ends meet. I feel for her and whatever situation she is in that is causing her to live this way - but I'll damned if I leave here without my deposit.

Well, guess that's enough whining for the day... :)


Anonymous said...

I cannot wait for you to have your house and be done with all of this mess. You so need some time to celebrate yourself and the life you have created. Just a few more weeks! And if you aren't doing so already, keep your expensive stuff locked up or with you. I don't trust this b at all. Hang in there!

Lin said...

omg, that's insane & a bit creepy. I cant beleive she goes in there & showers while you're out. I think you should mention it to her & just hope that your new place will be ready before expected, even if that means having to live without utilities for a couple of days.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

are you f-ing kidding me??? wow.

sounds like she might be living out of her car...HER PROBLEM, NOT YOURS.


Bev said...

Oh my gosh! I can't get over this story. You're totally right, I'm sure she is living in her car or something. :( Wow.

I hope you get out of there pronto and away from this crazy lady.

Kate said...

That is not OK at all! You have a child and have to think about the safety of her. Just because she is subletting the apt to you does not give her the right to come in whenever she wants. It is technically "your" place. I know that you can't just up and move whenever you want to, but get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Amber D. said...

What freaking nerve she has!! Is she using your soap and shampoo and razor too!?? Shudder.

You should tell her when you move out that you're giving her money for the water bill minus what she's used while you've been at work. Not that you need to collect on it, but to let her know you're on to her and make her understand that's not acceptable behavior, from ANYONE.

Samsmama said...

Ok, this is nuts and not a single part of it seems legit. Everything was shady at best until you mentioned her using your shower. WTF? I'd put a lock on the fridge if I were you. And how does one get $400 behind on the gas bill? Doesn't that get shut off at some point? Especially in an apt, I wouldn't think the bill would be that hight.

Anyway, best of luck with all of this! Can't wait until you are out of there!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God. I hope you are able to get away fast.

Kris said...

Are you kidding me? You have way more patients than I do because I would have flipped out on that lady by now! I hope you’re out of there ASAP and be sure to secure your personal files (she could be going through your stuff)!

Harmony said...

I see that Kate already said it, but I feel the need to say it again..technically it's YOUR place. She sounds a bit crazy and overbearing. I hope that the condo comes through with a quickness, so that you can have your farewells of that place.

Mary said...

holy shit- how in god's name did I miss this post!!!!!
I am so so sorry about all of this...I'd install one of those temporary alarms. So when she comes in, it'll blare and scare the fuck out of her.
I'm actually mad for you...I'll be there in a few hours. We're get this taken care of right away :)

knittergran said...

I don't know how long you are living in this apartment, but does the law allow you to change the locks? If so, it would be worth it to know she is NOT there when you don't personally ask her in.
This is just creepy. If she's homeless, I feel sorry for her but she shouldn't be coming and going from YOUR apartment.