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Posted: 1/22/2006 6:32:27 PM EDT
My g/f and I moved into a basement apartment at the beginning of December, 2005. The landlord lives upstairs about six months out of the year, and rents it out for the other 6 months. We received our first utility bill this week, which was $224 and change; this exceeds the maximum that we've ever paid in the past (always around $130 even in the dead of winter, and at a larger apartment). Also, before agreeing to rent the apartment the landlord told us the utilities are rarely over $100 for the month. So, naturally we just wanted to verify that the bill was correct. I approached the landlord a few days ago, very politely and asked her if we could see the bills. Instantly she becomes hostile and tells me that we are a pain in the ass (because we needed a motion light outside replaced) and stomps away. Wow.

Fast-forward to today. I go upstairs and ask her to come downstairs so we can go over the bill. She arrives in a huff, and barely has the patience to discuss the bill with us. We explained that we simply wanted to see the bill, and that we would gladly pay it. No problem, the bill was right-on (albeit far more than we were told it would be). With this issue resolved, we want to ask her about the continuous stomping around that can be heard upstairs (again, very politely and in a civil manner/ tone). The woman loses it, face turns red, and really shows signs that she is about to blow her lid. She exclaims "it's my house and I won't change the way I live! I'm 50- something years old and won't change" she screams. Wow. I calmly reply "then act like it". She flys out of the apartment and slams 2 doors on her way out.

Now, the g/f and I are extremely quiet people (the 1st week we were here, the landlord told us we were so quiet, very nice to have living below, etc, etc). We don't party, we don't stay up exceedingly late, and we are seldom here during the day. The rent is paid several days in advance, always.

Some factors:

-Upon agreeing to move in, the monthly utilities were to be split 3 ways (3 people in the house). The landlord just had two Argentinians move in with her, now there are 5 people in the house, and the bills are far more than they would be if only 3 people were here.

-The apartment is not legal, i.e. the city's zoning doesn't allow for an apartment in this house.

-She went from being the nice lady we first met, to a complete nut and has lied to us on several occasions now.

-The housing/ apartment situation in town is VERY tight right now, slim pickins'. And we don't have the time to move at this point (even if we could find a decent place).

-I'm afraid the landlord won't give us our security deposit back if we decide to move (of course we would give her sufficient notice).

So, what would YOU do? Drawing down is not an option, if I can get some serious replies I would really appreciate it.

Thanks in Advance!!!

--VT
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 6:54:26 PM EDT
Find another place, get ready to move in. Call the Code Inspectors, when you /she get the notice to correct the code violations she won't be able to hold on to your deposit.

You just may have to make the time to move.
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 6:58:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2006 6:59:00 PM EDT by PaDanby]
dt
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 7:07:57 PM EDT
Its no fun when you have a crazy B$@*&% for a landlord. First keep a dailey journal and backdate it to keep a written record of the problems and her response to them. Its only a matter of time before you must leave due to her behavior. Confront her about the other tentants and since this will increase the utility bills she or they must pay the increase, not you. Always try to have a witness to your talks with her.

I would think that since you can't have & live a reasonable life with her "noise" you could give her written notice that you will move & expect full reimbursement of your deposit, within 30 days of the date you move out. Hang in there but look for somewhere else to live.
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 7:19:16 PM EDT
That stinks man. I have said many times that as soon as I get out of school and get a job, I am moving to a place BY MYSELF . NO ROOMMATES. I don't have a significant other though!

I am in Golden, where are you at?
(not to intrude, but I have had some similair problems with a roommate and I am wondering if we are in the same part of the state, IM me.)

Link Posted: 1/22/2006 7:43:01 PM EDT
you have seen nothing untill you have rented in Boulder....
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 8:43:12 PM EDT
I'm a property manager in Lawrence, so I hopefully can give some advice. If your main complaint is a high utility bill, you are kinda SOL. You can have the utility company re-read the meter to double check. If your lease doesn't specify utilities(amount or percentage) then you are responsible. If she is stomping around she is not allowing you to have quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the property. You can hit her with a 1430 notice, 14 days to correct the problem or you are out in 30 days. Make sure you know what your lease says. In our leases, you can't leave. You MUST sublease or buy it out. There are also landlord-tenant laws in KS that prohibit using a deposit for rent, so sufficient notice might not be enough. Not sure about the zoning laws, might not do anything besides get her fined. If you are in Boulder of Ft. Collins there are always going to be places open. Look around campus for subleases and grocery stores, papers etc... Good luck with the situation, it sounds like it sucks, but you may just be in a shitty situation. Not too many judges I know will break a contract because you don't get along with someone. Lemme know if there are any questions I might be able to help you with.

Ted
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 9:50:46 PM EDT
Thanks for the responses guys. The utility bill isn't the problem, it's the attitude and the lies that bother us. As of tomorrow we will be looking for a new apartment. I have a friend who works for the city, so we shall see what she says.

Thanks again

--VT
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 9:58:01 PM EDT
I always assumed that I would never get the security/damage deposit back. They always had a reason to keep it.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 4:50:12 AM EDT
Sqeeky wheel gets the grease. If you leave a place clean & haven't damaged their property, they have no grounds to steal your deposit. Sometimes you have to be mean. Sue them if neccessary. I did and won.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:04:40 AM EDT
There are some problems that can only be fixed by moving away from them. It may be tough to move, but that's the solution. You will waste your time and just piss yourself off with anything else.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:08:33 AM EDT
The ultimate solution is home ownership. I realize that might not be possible right now but that should be the goal. Your actions should work toward that goal.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:10:01 AM EDT
How about buy a small affordable fixer house?

Problem solved. Renting is a horrible way to go.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:23:08 AM EDT
I won't address the obvious behavour problems....

However, the whole enrgy bill thing is not out of line.... Natural gas and electric utility bills have gone through the roof in many areas. My Gas bill has doubled. Electrical is up big time. (Local hockey arenas have seen energy bills go from $4000/mo to $10,000/mo).

Any time you are in a situation were the bills are split, its BAAAAAAAAD news... Somebody is a energy hog. Someone else is a miser. It never works out. I'll NEVER live in a place that I cannot control the heat and the electric. I'll use as much or as little as I want, and pay accordingly.

Your choices are really quite obvious. Suck it up or move. I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I;m not flaming. Its a really shitty situation, but you are not going to improve on it. So you can either live with it, or live elsewhere...
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:41:14 AM EDT
Two words...


Get out!!


I promise the situation will only get worse.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 6:02:32 AM EDT
why would you sign a lease on an illegal apartment? Sounds like a good way to lose your money and the roof over your head very easily
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 7:38:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jimmyjoebob:
why would you sign a lease on an illegal apartment? Sounds like a good way to lose your money and the roof over your head very easily



+1

You thought you were getting a deal by renting an illegal apartment. Now you know that the price you are paying is not just monetary.

Hopefully, lesson learned.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 7:43:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jimmyjoebob:
why would you sign a lease on an illegal apartment? Sounds like a good way to lose your money and the roof over your head very easily



that works both ways
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