When the Subletter Renegs on the Rent
Hello Gentle Blog Readers,
I was going to write about urgent last-minute apartment fixes–but a friend is having an urgent problem, so I’m hoping some of you may have advice. Also, apartment living ethics fascinate me.
The problem? The subletter( who is an acquaintance of a current housemate) doesn’t think she should pay rent for August.
The background is that five good friends wanted to live together post-college and the only suitable place they found within their budget(ie had five real bedrooms) was in Washington Heights. So, they merrily moved in and proceeded to have lovely theme parties. A recent Hawaiian Tropics shindig was a blast. In any case, after 2 years, paradise and their NYC housing naivete ended when one friend decided to move back to Chicago. She did the right thing and found a subletter for her room from April – August when the lease was up. Also, when she first signed the lease way back when, she paid last month’s rent, so August rent should thus go back to her. She even wrote up a subletter’s agreement which the subletter signed, which stated the above.
Sounds peachy keen, right? Well, it might have been, had the gas not stopped working in May. Or had it been fixed in June. Or early July. But it hasn’t been fixed and so the other roommates have been on rent strike, reasoning that without gas, their apartment is unlivable. Furthermore, the landlord has been in and out and basically made a mess of their living room, but still no gas.
Of course, the subletter hears about the no rent phenomenon and thus doesn’t pay the landlord either. Which bring us to August rent. Should the subletter be obligated to pay rent to the girl who moved out? On one hand, she did sign the subletter’s agreement and it’s not fair for the girl who moved out to be stuck for the month since she did everything right. On the other, it stinks to be forced to live without gas AND be the only one in the apt to pay rent.
Hey, I think I did a pretty good job describing that–you might not even be able to tell who my pal is in the ordeal…