Tuesday, June 8, 2010

dear elizabeth part 2

Dear Elizabeth,

I just moved out of my old apartment and into a new one, but let me back up. Approximately two months before my lease expired my roommate took a position with her company that was out of state and signed over the entire lease to me; I assumed all responsibility for the lease. Her company offers relocation benefits so they gave me her “half” of the rent for the final two months so I wasn’t stuck with the full rent. So even though I was fully responsible for the lease, she basically “bought out” her half for the final two months.

My old roommate and I were, and still are, good friends. When she moved, we didn’t “deep clean” the apartment because I was still living there. She told me she’d still help me clean out the apartment when the lease was up since she was really just “legally” removing herself from responsibility of the apartment but still planned on using it when she came to visit her family. She kept a key to the apartment after she moved so when she came back to town she could come and go from the apartment at her leisure. This was totally fine with me. She probably came back for about 4 long weekends during her time away; about 2 of those times her mom stayed, too.

Also, I used the apartment “lightly” while she was gone. I spent a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house – evenings, weekend days, ate most meals with him, etc (I didn’t have cable or internet once she left so there was not much going on at my apartment anymore haha). So really, I pretty much only used my apartment for sleeping and laundry when she was gone.

When her mom was in town for 10 days (the final 10 days of the lease), she stayed at my apartment, even though my old roommate was only there on the weekends during her stay. Again, I was okay with this. As I started to pack boxes and move (I had my new place 10 days before my old lease expired so there was an overlap), I deliberately didn’t pack things like my TV, blankets, dishes, etc so that her mom could keep using my stuff throughout her stay. And when I did some pre-cleaning, I didn’t clean common areas since she was still using it.

When it came time to “deep clean” my friend told me she’d clean her room, her bathroom, vacuum and clean the fridge. On the final day of the lease we had to be out by noon so I got there early to finish cleaning and when I got there, my old roommate and her family were already gone. She cleaned out the fridge, vacuumed and cleaned her bathroom like she said. But her bathroom needed to be touched up due to dirty sink handles, the vacuuming job was not done well (I used a roll of tape to pick up some loose “stuff” on the carpet), I had to dust the heater vent (the kind that runs along the entire wall) in her room and wash her windows and window frame in her room. On top of that, I still had to do about 4 hours of detailed cleaning in the “common areas” of the house.

Now the issue here is this: we both paid $150 in deposits when we moved in for a total of $300. When the apartment manager did her final walk through she said it looked great and indicated we’d get the entire deposit back. Since the lease was turned over to me and is in my name, I technically will get the entire $300 check.

Considering ALL the above (our friendship, her mom’s presence limiting my ability to move my stuff and clean in my own timing, the cleaning she said she did versus what was actually done and I was left to re-do, the time I spent cleaning the “common areas” of the apartment, and the fact that the lease was signed over to me), what part, if any, of the deposit should I give to her assuming we will get all $300 back?


In a quandary!

Dear Quandary,

I've been thinking about this, and I think I have a fairly simple answer, but maybe not the one you're looking for. I definitely understand what you're saying about how you had to clean it up by yourself pretty much, and that really sucks! I'll be honest and say that though my answer may be mature, I'd probably want to do what you want to, which is keep more than half for yourself.

BUT I would suggest this: I assume that you plan on continuing your friendship with this girl? If so, remember that the friendship means a lot more than a hundred dollars or so. I would talk to her about it. Say, "Hey 'Jane', we're expecting to get our deposit back and I wanted to ask you about how we're planning on splitting it up." Explain to her what you explained to me. It's pretty likely she'll understand and let you keep the larger portion, but if she doesn't, you still have a clear conscience.

I can almost guarantee that if you do keep the money without talking to her, you'll feel guilty - and that's DEFINITELY not worth a hundred bucks - even in this poor economy=)

Good luck, and I hope it works out for you!


Rebecca said...

Totally agree! You definitely need to talk to her if you think you are due more than your half. If she is reasonable and you aren't just being greedy, then she'll prob be fine with it. But even if she's not, the money isn't worth the compromise in character.

We should start an "Integrity: Do the Right." campaign.

*Was* In A Quandry said...

That makes a lot of sense and honestly, while I had already decided that a few hundred bucks isn't worth losing the friendship over, I just wasn't sure how to approach it. I will call her or shoot her an email and see what she thinks (once I get the moolah) and go from there. Thanks for your advice! =)

And Rebecca... love the new campaign idea :)