How to lose cash, a friend and not get the apartment

This sad tale comes to us from Jonathan in New York City.

Fresh out of college, Jon thought he had found the perfect place and the ideal roommate, but six weeks later he had no place to live, was out of $3000 and had lost his friend. Here’s how it happened.

Mistake number one was when Jon put everything in the hands of his future roommate (a friend from college,) who was really bad at negotiating and was afraid of the landlord. Mistake number two was to sign a two-year lease on a place that was under total renovation and put down thousands of dollars for broker’s fees, security and rent. Mistake number three was not to really push the landlord to get the work done.

Four weeks past the move-in date the place still didn’t have windows and Jon finally got the message. He decided to cut his losses, ask the landlord for his money back and find a new place. (By the way, this is one of those times where reading your lease can really save your butt. In this case there was a clause that said the lease began once the tenants moved in and since they never moved in, Jon was off the hook.) The roommate, now ex-friend, decided to hang on.

In the end, six weeks after he was supposed to move into the great newly-renovated apartment with his college buddy, Jon found on Craigslist (where else?) a room in an apartment with strangers. After a few more months of unpleasantness, he even got his money back

And the ex-friend? After three months of waiting, he finally moved in, though now he isn’t staying in the place, because there is no heat or hot water. Only 18 months to go on the lease!

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