Renting in Grand Junction: One Man’s Nightmare
Recently I had an experience in renting I hope no one else has ever had to deal with. And, in an effort to help you avoid the pitfalls I fell into, I have a few bits of advice I would like to share with you.
The Sub Lease
My odyssey began in August when I agreed to "take over the lease" on the apartment I was living in. My roommate at the time moved to another state and asked me to assume the lease, which I did. My big mistake, however, was not signing a new lease, which meant I was living in an apartment where I was not on the lease, but responsible for maintaining it. Big mistake. If you find yourself in a situation like this, your first decision has to be to sign a new lease. Not doing so leaves you open to the whims of the person who is, which means you have no control over your living situation. In my case, the person who was on the lease broke said lease and I was forced out.
Finding a new place to live
If you are not prepared for this, it is a daunting task, to be sure. First, I had no rental history, thanks to not having my rent payments show up. Second I have a dog and finally, I have an eviction on my record, not to mention the fact I had no notice, and three days is not enough time. All of these things conspired against my finding a place to live for me and my dog. Imagine not having a place to live for an extended period of time, living out of a suitcase and sleeping on various sofas and you get the idea. Ultimately I had to find another roommate situation. So in order to keep you from experiencing the same issues I have a few suggestions for you.
Avoiding the trap
First, you have to have a lease. If you are in a situation like this and no lease is offered, don't take the place. The lease is designed to protect you and the landlord. It's very important that you read the lease before you sign it. If you're not sure about it, or there are unanswered questions, don't sign.
Included in the lease will be the length of the lease, the terms, and the deposit information. Your rights as a renter are included in this legal and binding document, so reading and understand it is very important. If you know an attorney or someone familiar with leases in general, have them look it over. If there's anything in it you don't agree with don't sign it.
Much of what I went through the last two months would have been avoided completely had I made sure I had the protection of the lease.
Don't let this happen to you.