For Liz

3 months of unpaid rent $1,500
20 some odd phone calls to Canada charged to your phone, $90
Fee to change your phone number to evade creditors, $30
“Loan” to cover U-haul rental, $500
Gas to get out of DC metro area, $50
Sending your deadbeat roommate off to Wisconsin to mooch off of someone else and getting your house/life back, priceless

Not about me, or any of my former Shaw roommates, but a good friend who has finally got her chronically unemployed roommate out of the house. Read this story and take heed all ye who have roommates or will get roommates or boarders.
So lets call my friend Liz, Liz and her now ex-roommie, Kay. Liz and Kay meet through a common geeky interest group and because the common geeky interest group throws parties that run late, Kay and other geeks would wind up on Liz’s couch often. One day, Kay asked to stay on Liz’s couch for a ‘couple of weeks’ until she could get a job so she could pay for the last semester of college at [expensive private NW DC university]. Long story short Kay was a financial disaster, her parents were bankrupt, she couldn’t pay most of her bills and was hounded by creditors, she was sick and health care expensive, and despite nearly finishing at a top flight school lacked any sort of financial common sense. It didn’t help that she had several girlfriends out of state (read: long long-distance phone calls), one being unemployed and unable to support her end of the relationship financially. Kay had a thing for women who were also financially incompetent.
What did this have to do with Liz, who had a thing for locals with decent savings accounts?
When Kay couldn’t pay for those long distance calls and the phone bill had to get paid, Liz paid for it.
When Kay wanted to visit out of state/ country lovers, who did she ‘borrow’ money from? Liz.
When Kay couldn’t pay her credit card bills and they started hounding her for money, who had to talk to the creditors ’cause she was silly enough to answer her own phone? Liz.
When Kay needed medication for her depression, who got it for her? Liz.
Why? Cause you live in the same unit with a person it is hard to not be impacted by their life, their depression and girlfriends. And they KNOW how much money you have and when you are the only responsible adult in the room, apparently you are expected to pay the tab for everything.

Liz is now swearing she will screen future roommates.

5 thoughts on “For Liz”

  1. MM,
    I confronted the same issues in the eviction of my first-ever basement renter. He seemed like a normal person, down on his luck, but he could never pay the rent completely by himself. I don’t know what the issue was to this day but his lack of ability to pay traumitized me as a landlord for the rest of my life. I’m sorry to say by thanks to this one individual, I will do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure I NEVER rent to section 8 people EVER AGAIN. Having lived in this nieghborhood for four years, I totally get the concern of nieghbors. If it was to be done over again, I doubt that a section eight person would ever be collectively allowed by the nieghborhood to live on the block ever again. Screw the poor. Their there for a reason!!!!!!

  2. All it takes is one bad roommate/ renter to ruin the idea of shared housing. Inability to pay rent nullifies the relationship for me. You can’t pay the rent, then there is no reason for you to live here. Of course, it helps when management bothers to tell you that your roommate didn’t pay her rent….. Arlington roommate, financial weasel, and a lawyer.
    But the problem in this story was Kay who is a sad sack who attracts much pity. I mean her life is sad, with some real problems, and when people do reach out to help her, she squanders the aid. Rule #1, when you haven’t paid rent and you’re “borrowing” money from your roommie, don’t get snippy with them, be moody in your own room.

  3. my mum & dad rent out a place (not urban, totally boonies of PA) and have had to evict 6 out of 8 renters. Mom is a sucker for someone down on their luck (“they reminded me of us when we started out, young family, just need a break”) and break is what they did. Took 6 months lost rent and the sheriff to evict the first set. The upshot is that this is driving my mom into bankruptcy – maybe I should respect my mom for her eternal optimism… but mostly I dread when they lose their place and become MY roommates.

  4. Deadbeat roommates are smoothtalkers. We just got an eviction notice because one of my rommmates is a pathological liar. He stole my roommates notice to quit letter from the landlord. He lied to landlard about checks being sent; lied to me about jobs he had; lied about sending his portion of the rent to the landlord. Lesson to those who think they trust someone’s ability to pay their rent: when it comes to money, don’t do ANYTHING unless you have it in writing.

  5. Liz’s bother had that problem. Roommate apparently was on crack or some drug and the rent money went up in smoke and they all got kicked out the last month of the semester.

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