Sunday, September 27, 2009

I guess this means I won't be getting my security deposit back after all.

As I mentioned, I moved at the start of this school year. My old roommate would really have preferred to live alone, but since she has such large student loan payments, keeping the $650 house herself would have been prohibitive. She felt that she needed a house with a fenced yard instead of an apartment for the sake of her dog, and she also didn't want to move because she owns a lot of furniture and it would have been a hassle to move all of it. She also made noises about not wanting to live with a first year teacher because they are "too much trouble to support emotionally", but none of the second years or alumni wanted to move in so she didn't have a lot of choice.

It looked like she wasn't going to find anyone at all, but eventually "Guy" wound up in search of housing after a last minute switch of district and subject. He asked my new roommate about my old roommate, she said something vague along the lines of, "All of my interactions with her have been positive," he decided he could live with her crazy dog, and he moved in. I was a bit relieved he didn't ask me anything because, although I hadn't loved living with my old roommate, I didn't want to make it more difficult for her to find a new roommate.

When he moved in, I offered to wait to get my $300 security deposit back until after he got his first paycheck since most first years are in fairly dire financial straights until then. Shortly thereafter, he started pondering moving out. He discussed this with everyone besides his roommate and began seeking other housing options.

Most of his complaints sounded awfully familiar. My old roommate isn't mean or a bad person, but she can be difficult to live with. She takes over not only her room and the office, but the entire living room as well with her projects, spending almost every hour of every evening camped out on the couch working in front of a dvd. She expects others to follow her rules, not opening the blinds in the living room ever because someone might look in and see that she owns a stereo and a television, consuming seafood only on weekends she was out of town because she didn't like the smell, informing me when I was moving out that whoever was moving in would not be allowed to get cable, and if he or she did, it would have to run directly to that person's bedroom and not the living room. I always got the feeling that I was living in her house, at least in her mind. She tended to express frustration on the occasions that my weekend plans conflicted with her hope that I would once again watch her dog while she went out of town to visit her boyfriend. She didn't interact much, often treating a roommate as an annoyance to be endured for the sake of rent money. I think we might have been better friends if we hadn't tried to share living space.

Guy found all this hard to come home to after long days of struggling at school, and yesterday he moved out. My old roommate is venting her frustrations in her facebook statuses about being unable to trust anyone's word and needing to look into small claims court. Guy wasn't on the lease, they had no written agreement, and he paid his share of rent and bills every month. Does anyone know if she has legal grounds to sue him?

This cannot be a fun time for my old roommate, but I also understand why Guy decided to move out. I'm planning to stay as far from the drama as possible. I'm a little frustrated that I won't ever see my security deposit or any reimbursement for my half ownership of the washer and dryer that my old roommate kept, but I don't see any way to pursue it that wouldn't cause a scene.


blukats said...

Hi, I saw a link to your blog from another I follow, so I've read a few of your posts. I like the way you write.

Just wanted to say if you signed any paperwork with your ex-room mate or with the apartments (you mentioned a lease), or have a receipt for the security deposit, she has to return it irregardless if she gets another room mate or not. It's the law in pretty much all states.

Sounds like she is a problem person but that's a lot of money she isn't giving back to you. You might look to see if there are any renters rights groups in your area or attorneys who will do consulting for free. Or if your area has a governement department that handles housing issues. Because she can't hang on to a deposit. Good luck with this!

E.C. said...

Thanks for the compliment!

I had paperwork with the owner of the house so I could probably get the deposit back if I decided to pursue it, but I just don't think it would be worth the hassle. I can afford it, and I know that my ex-roommate is always living on the brink of financial collapse so I'm not sure she's even good for it.