Read Your Damn Lease!

(Sorry for the long pause in posts. Saved everything to draft instead of setting it up to post at a later date. My bad!)

So, I was going to post something I have queued about making sure y your syllabus/course outline/assignment rubric/guidelines.  This is somewhat along those lines, but dealing with renters instead.

At the moment, our landlord is half way across the coutnry, doing his Army Reservist training. In his absence, myself and another roommate have been doing some of the things he usually would do (bills, repairs, cleaning, winterization). The two of us have been here for a few years each, so we don’t mind helping out. The new guys in the basement, however, just moved in the beginning of September. They’ve never dealt with the landlord leaving like this. I really don’t think they can handle it, to be perfectly honest.

Last month, when rent was due on the 1st of the month, I was shuttling myself between home, work, and the hospice to stay with my grandma in her last days. Those two were wondering why I wasn’t dropping everything to take their rent and deposit it for them. Now, I had agreed that I would take their rent money from them and deposit it IF they had some sort of problem with their chosen method of rent payment. Afterwards, I told them to get things straightened out for this month.

Another month has passed, and those two are yet again wondering why I haven’t dropped everything to take care of them. When one went out partying for 2 whole days for Halloween and missed the small bit of time I was home to collect rent, he had the audacity to get mad at me! Because he didn’t sit down with our landlord and go over things step-by-step (rent payment, how to get a receipt, how to contact the landlord), it is now somehow MY problem. One of them even went so far as to bring his father into this, saying he was going to have his father “deal with me”.

And this is where reading your damn lease comes into play.

You see, the lease tells you EVERYTHING you need to know (or should, legally). It’s like the syllabus you get the first day of classes: it tells you everything that is expected, everything that is allowed, how to contact important people, and when everything comes to an end. On top of that, this is a legally binding document. Basically, you entered into a contract with your landlord when you signed this.

Yes, that’s right: it’s legally binding.So, you should probably know what’s in there.  In the past, I’ve had leases that specified types of furniture that were not allowed (usually waterbeds, extra appliances, and space heaters), certain types of combustibles not allowed (fireworks, propane tanks), and animal regulations (some places require a pet deposit, some won’t allow certain animals, and one place let my friend have a pig as long as it didn’t spook the carrier pigeons next door). Your lease can also also have clauses in it regarding noise, subletting, overnight guests, and otehr things you may not think about when signing your lease.

So, back to my roommates: as it turns out, our lease is VERY clear about how rent is to be paid. On the very first page, the landlord gives multiple options for payment, knowing that there will not always be a landlord on-site on the 1st of the month. The lease states the house bank account number and which bank to make deposits at (only a few blocks from here); it has an option to set up internet banking options (of which there are multiple); and there is even an option for submitting multiple post-dated cheques which can be deposited into the bank. Nowhere in the lease is there the option to harass a fellow tenant and attempt to force her to take your money and deposit it for you.

I will be making new (highlighted) photocopies of each of their leases for them, showing them their payment options.  I also gladly welcome a phone call from the one roommate’s father. He thinks that, by having his father call me, I will somehow be scared into takin gtheir money and not giving them any greif over this. Instead, I will proudly read from the lease his son signed, and invite him to teach his son to maybe read his damn lease before he complains.