Maybe not the law – but I definitely fought my apartment complex.
When you are in an apartment complex, you’ve got the benefit of never doing lawn work, never doing repairs, and never having to stay (you can break your lease, you know).
But when you’ve got difficult neighbors, and a very bad management office, things can get hairy, like they did for me.
I pay rent mid-way through the month for the next month – I like paying early. It prevents me from spending it, using it for something else, or ever being accused of not paying rent on time. They returned it, stating I needed to add utilities. I called them up and let them know – if they want utilities, I’d need a copy of the utilities. They dropped off a new note the next day with my utilities statement, adding $50 for a late fee.
Two days later, we received my first ever eviction notice for non-payment. I hold in my hand a check for rent, with a date of March 14th (I pay mid-way for the next month). I informed them quite explicitly, the lease states utilities and rent are separate payments – to which their rebuttal was “if you read the lease you’d know they are one and the same.” I sent out another check – with utilities, no late fee.
It’s a good thing I’ve got my filing together! I bust out my lease and ask what paragraph that gem is in. “15,” they say. Paragraph 15 is about rent/lease increasing, not utilities or rent payment schedule. So I quote my lease were it states that “once the utilities bill is received, I have 20 days to pay it. Suddenly, their financial manager needs to get the apartment manager. He says that he’s not sure where it says it – but it does say it.
I told him to prove it. I’ve got a lawyer on-call to verify, if need be, and I let him know he can let me know where it states that, because otherwise their constant returning of my rent (and trying to charge late fees) are unfounded. He asks for a day, and that if he can’t, their District Manager will e-mail me.
Four days pass, and I’ve e-mailed the DM twice about my upcoming eviction, and asking about the state of the utilities/rent dilemma. The 16th I finally receive a reply.
Guess what? I AM RIGHT. I called them out on their statement of “company policy” and “lease terms” when I knew they were nothing of the sort.
It’s been four months of these kinds of battles with this apartment complex that has lead to my search for a house – something to call my own, away from pimped out Hondas, bass-rattling stereos at 2am, and beer bottles lying outside. Yes, I’m moving out of the college-life apartment and moving into a house.