Monday, January 25, 2010

Peace out landlords

After nearly 5 months of stress and fretting, the legal dispute case is now crossed off my to do list. And what an interesting experience it was. A 2 hour phone call to settle the matter of damaged property and an outstanding security deposit from my slimy and capricious ex-landlord. A quick backdrop to this story . . . .

I was living in the place from May until the end of July. It amounted to the worst 4 months of my life! If only I could get all of my rent money back I would. It was supposed to be wonderful. Gina, Sarah, Karoline and I all living together in a brand new apartment on the edge of campus. We all had out own ensuite bathrooms. On paper it sounded great. And (unfortunately) when we initially saw it, it was still under construction. We made the grave mistake of trusting what total strangers told us would be the outcome of this project. Lesson 1: Always see what you're getting before you sign your name to anything. However when we moved in, there were lots of things that weren't finished that were included in our rent and were receiving no discount. After a month of this nonsense and unfulfilled promises, Gina and I marched across the street with a 2 page list of things that were incomplete and in need of repair. The landlords got more than they bargained for when they rented to us. Ha! Although they gave us many new completion dates, problems persisted. Lesson 2: Contracts are no good if both parties are upholding their end.

Soon after this, I also began to be suspicious that there was even an final inspection on this place. And there wasn't. Many building code violations and health code violations later, our sanity seemed to be worth more than $600 a month. Karoline and I started looking for new places to live. Lesson 3: There is no such thing as a good deal in real estate or rentals. There was a mold outbreak just after we left, sky high utility bills, and angry phone calls and emails from the cowardly landlords. Especially after I told them we would sue for all of our rent money back. Then we tried to get our security deposit back and they said, "We'll let someone else decided how much we owe you." Two can play that game. They filed against us. We filed against them. Lesson 4: Cowardly bullies who scrounge for money also bluff. Those people had the audacity to call us last week asking to settle before the court date. No way! They started this mess and we're going to bring them into broad daylight and expose them for who they really are.

Today during the call it became evident very quickly that the landlords never took us seriously. Months of fantastic documentation on our part built up a great case and left them high and dry. My favorite moments of this call were when the arbitrator got very cross with the landlords for not taking this seriously and they're magical accounting skills. Yes, take that! Lesson 5: The law always catches up with those who try to foil it. So feeling semi-triumphant after putting up quite the fight, I can attest to the fact that the honest fight is always the right fight, even if it is difficult.

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On a more excellent note, I am Europe bound as of April 20th!!!!!

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