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Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Warning about Roommates

A lot of people think the possibility of having a roommate is great. All the bills are cut in half, and if your apartment is big enough, you might not even know they're there. Many people have suggested to me that when I move out again, I need a roommate because I don't make enough to afford anything worthwhile in this city. But I refuse to even consider the notion, and I'll tell you why.

Justin and I were living in a crapshack apartment when he met his new best bud, Karl. Karl, who was a highly-functional alcoholic, and basically set in motion the downward spiral of our whole marriage, but I digress. Well, I wanted out of this crapshack badly, and Karl was already bunking with us on the couch due to fights he kept having with the 6 roommates in the house he currently shared. So, we devised a plan to find a better place to live, with 2 bedrooms. He signed the lease with us, and we were living in what I considered "luxury" (far from it really, but oh so much nicer than what we could afford on our own).

Everything went fine the first 6 months. We were trying to help him out in a way by getting his life in order. Getting a bank account, and applying for a credit card in order to gain credit history. But things were slowly degrading, and although I was reluctant, we signed the lease again for a second year. However, only 2 months in, I told Karl that I wanted him out. Our marriage was collapsing in on us for several reasons. First of all, Justin's priority was Karl and booze, and as much as I told him to get back on track, it didn't matter. I needed Karl out in order for this marriage to function.

Karl was not the perfect roommate either. After all, he was an alcoholic, so there were times that he got so drunk he would vomit in his own bed. Twice, he tried to make it to the bathroom and failed, vomiting all over the carpet. But, that wasn't the worst part. Oh no. He decided to vacuum it up; with our bagged vacuum cleaner that was from the 80's. Every time we'd used it since, it smelled like vomit. He would always leave his clothes in the washer/dryer and forget about them and stopped me from doing my laundry unless I fixed it. He would always bring up "but you leave them in there too, and when you did, I hung them up for you!". That was once, 7 months ago. Get over it.

Anyway, I'd had it. I wanted him out and I told him so. I said he had 10 months to get some money saved up and look for a place. That was plenty of time. It would be hard on Justin and I, but we could scrounge and afford to live here ourselves. I would bug him about it a lot, I even looked online and helped search for possible places to live. I even told him I would help by paying some of the costs towards moving out. He wasn't even my friend, but that's how badly I wanted him gone.

Well, when the time came for Justin and I to resign the lease, Karl had refused to move out. He stated that he wasn't warned. Wasn't given enough time. Didn't have any money saved up, and hadn't looked for a place. Well fine, I thought. It didn't matter. It was two against one and we wouldn't let him resign the lease. Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong. There is no recourse to get a roommate out of your apartment unless he did something illegal. He had the right, the right, to resign that lease. Justin and I were stuck. Unless we moved, all three of us would have to resign the lease, and I absolutely refused to let that happen. We weren't prepared to move ourselves but we had established credit. I would do it if I had to. Karl told us that he would live in this apartment all by himself. I laughed. I scoffed. Justin and I could barely afford this place. He would be sunk within 2 months. But you know what, let him drown like a rat. I would have loved to watch that happen. He was essentially stealing the apartment out from under our feet, and there was not a damn thing that we could do about it.

Well, so while we were considering our options, Karl went into the office in order to do the screening, since he'd be living there on his own. He barely scraped by with enough income to rent it by himself, but that didn't include utilities. Well, when they ran his background check, they found his criminal record. (oh, didn't I tell you about that? Karl had a felony for trafficking/selling drugs a couple years back. It had been reduced to a misdemeanor but it still reflected as a felony on his background check. When we'd first applied for the place 2 years ago, the temp manager had missed it, apparently.)

Karl tried everything he could. Got court records, blah blah blah. But he'd actually lied on the screening and said he'd had no felonies. So even if he could prove that it was a misdemeanor, they would not guarantee an apartment because he'd lied. Oh my God, sweet sweet redemption. It was the best day of my life. Not only could he not resign the lease with us, but he was forced to move out within 30 days. And guess what? Somehow he'd found the money to find a place to live.

So, roommates? No thank you. I think I'll pass.