COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987
July 31, 2019

Hot Roommate > Bad Landlord?

Hey, Bonita…

Bonita,

I'm living off campus in a shared apartment for the first time ever. It's not as great as I thought it would be, though. The space I wanted to rent "wasn't viewable,” so the landlord showed me what he called a "demo unit,” which was just the other side of the duplex. The one I ended up in needs some (not huge, but still annoying) repairs and has roaches. The landlord isn't following up with me about these repairs and bugs. Plus, my neighbor is loud and so rude when I ask them to keep it down. 

I really want to just break my lease and leave, but my roommate, whom I found via Facebook, is super hot, and I kinda wanna stick around in hopes that something could happen between us. I've been single for a while, and it's kinda sexy living with a super-hot dude that seems to never have a shirt on, even though the house sucks. 

What do you think I should do?

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT sleep with your roommate. Do not flirt with him or try to date him. At most, be friends with him until you no longer live together, then see if you have any sexual chemistry. Because if things go awkward, at least you won't be stuck in a lease with someone you either struck out or broke up with. Ask any friend who’s been dumped by someone they shared a home with, and they will describe some of the most uncomfortable times of their lives.

Terrible neighbors and lazy landlords are a dime a dozen in this town. I have no response beyond “welcome to Athens” when it comes to your landlord’s bait-and-switch with your apartment, and you should just expect to continue to be ignored over little repairs and bugs. Do they pay for water? Tell them there’s a leak, and they’ll call you back within a minute so you can share with them the actual problems you need addressing. (That’s also a great way to get on their bad side and definitely not be offered a renewal at the end of your lease, but at least you’d get them on the phone.)

Honestly, you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. If these little things mean blown light bulbs or shredded window blinds, replace those things yourself, and keep their broken items so you can put them back at the end of your lease. I would stop short of messing with anything structural, but take pictures and keep records of your attempts to contact your landlord. Tenants’ rights in Georgia are abysmal, but still, protect your neck. If you did a move-in inspection, I hope you listed all of these petty little things on it, too, because landlords will try to make you pay for damages that already existed. 

Put simply: Your landlord is not your friend. Landlords aren’t inherently evil, but they are capitalists, and I wish I’d truly understood the power of a dollar when I first started renting. Just as you want to protect your interests, they want to protect theirs, as well, and the law is on their side.

Now, your roommate? That’s your friend. Some of my best friends are people I met on Day One in a new house, and I’m sure he’s just as uneasy about the ratty house and the deposit that I’m positive y’all will not be getting back. (Again, welcome to Athens.) Be supportive of each other in this not-ideal housing situation, and shoot your shot after y’all move out. I mean, just imagine seeing him shirtless in the kitchen with some other hottie after he’s turned you down. That would be mortifying, and besides, the rest of the students are gonna be back soon, and Athens is gonna be crawling with cuties who don’t live with you.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, use the anonymous form at flagpole.com/getadvice, or find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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