Saturday, December 29, 2007

Apartment Nightmare (Continued)

Last week, I gave you the summary version of what happened. In the end, we did stay there last night because I refused to leave after being kicked out of our own apartment that we had just taken possession of. That evening, they were telling us that they had keys for us, but when we were leaving in the morning and we asked the landlord for the keys, she made up some story that they were their only copy when we were told the evening before that those keys were our copy to take with us. It was then that I didn’t think fast enough to refuse to leave without keys and my wife didn’t want to start another fight with them.

The only documentation that we have from them is a signed receipt from them which indicates that the receipt is for rent for the property at that address. Additionally, before this happened, we changed our forwarding address with the US Post Office to that address, and changed all our bank statements, etc. to that address so when we get there on Tuesday, I’ll have mail there in my name. Additionally, we have our U-Haul receipt and the receipt for the movers which show that they loaded our stuff from Denver and unloaded at the NY address.

Lastly, we are going there on Jan 1st to move in. There are many issues yet to be resolved where they originally agreed to various terms, and then last week, changed their minds after we moved in. My suspicion is that when we get there they won’t let us into the apartment before agreeing to their new terms which means that for the first time, I’ll have to call the police to force them to let us in. I hate the idea of occupying an apartment by force, but because they have our rent money for the month and I don’t think I can get it back from them, we’ll stay there for the month while we look for another place.

I think that as an attorney, the best thing that could have happened is that they let us move in. Had they not let us move in, we wouldn’t have possession of the apartment and the issue would be simply damages -- how to get the rent deposit back from them and how to sue them for the costs and moving fees involved in finding a reasonable replacement apartment on such short notice.

My wife thinks that I shouldn’t be thinking so negatively and that we should just hope they let us in. If (my wife says "if," I say "when") they don’t agree to the terms in the lease that they originally agreed to, she thinks that we should just live there on a month-to-month oral lease while we look for another place, and as soon as another place opens up, we should move out and sue them for the moving costs we incur because we are moving because they broke their oral lease (keep in mind that leases only need to be in writing when they are for longer than a year). In the meantime, we won’t unpack all of our boxes (only the ones we’ll need for daily living) and we won’t invest money into the place for rugs, etc. as my wife planned to.

You know that I hate a lawsuit more than anyone in the world, but between you and me, this is the first time I feel that I will be forced to be in one. This is truly a messed up situation. I wish we never took this apartment.


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