The apartment situations

In March 2008, the house finally split up. It wasn’t because we were sick of each other or anything like that, but rather the house just seemed like it was falling apart. We kept having water leaks, leading to $100+ water bills and the electric bills were through the roof as well. The landlord, Eddie Martin, a local dentist was a total jerk about the whole situation. By Florida law, a landlord forfeits the right to make a claim against a security deposit if they do not make a claim within 30 days of vacating. Since Julie and I didn’t hear from him after 30 days, we assumed it was over. Julie and I were in North Carolina visiting Julie’s family when Lisa (in Florida) got a call from Eddie demanding a one-on-one walk through with Lisa. In order to protect my and Julie’s interests, I asked my parents to show up at the walk through as well. I’m glad I did, because they got most of our security deposit back; I doubt he would have given Lisa anything back. He tried to claim that we could not leave because we had a verbal lease. I guess he missed the section in dental school where they teach you there is no such thing as a verbal lease, and without a written lease, 30 days notice is all that is required. What’s worse is that we spent three days cleaning the place. We had gotten all of our stuff out, we swept, we mopped, we vacuumed, and we steam cleaned. He wouldn’t give Lisa and Julie their full deposit back for silly reasons like finding a penny on the ground meant we didn’t clean, and he found a single piece of lettuce in the refrigerator. You know, really big things like that. Rather than bring up the point that he had no right to keep any of our deposit since the 30 days were up, we just settled and Julie and Lisa got back what my dad was about to get from him. My dad has rented in the past; he also thought that Eddie was a total jerk.
Julie and I shopped for a new place to live at a reasonable price and close to the university. A new apartment complex had opened up in Floridatown in Pace called Magnolia Crossing Apartments. We had trouble finding the place. Google maps had not yet updated to include the new road it was on, so it ended up taking us somewhere not even close. Julie and I unfortunately were pretty ignorant at the time. There are so many things you need to really learn before you start renting places. The apartments were brand new, they said they had an exercise room, and they said they were getting a pool and gate keys. They then told us that our living there was income based and we’d have to be able to qualify. The application process took far too long. It was like they had no idea what they were doing. They kept calling my boss Karen over and over again to the point that she was pretty annoyed by them. We did qualify, so it was time to sign the lease. The manager explained (or so we thought) the lease point by point. We asked three questions. First of all, we asked if the rate would increase in the second lease. The manager said the rate would not increase. We then asked if the second lease could be a negotiable lease term, since we were not going to be in the area a full two years. The manager said that the second lease would be a negotiable term. We also asked for a copy of our lease, but the manager said that the copier was not set up yet or something. A week or so later, we had to sign a second lease or something because the apartment was under new management. She said that the lease was the same lease. Exactly one month into living at Magnolia Crossing, we got a notice on our door saying that the rent was going to increase the next month. We were really confused and quite angry. How can they increase the rent rate during the term of a lease?! That’s why you have a lease in the first place. After asking three times for a copy of our lease, we finally got it. It turns out that when she explained the lease point-by-point, she left out a not-so-easy to read section that says that the rent can increase during the term of the lease. I did what little I could. I called HUD in Jacksonville and filed a complaint that the apartment complex did not explain the terms as they were supposed to. The person I talked to seemed irritated by what happened; she kept saying that the apartments are supposed to thoroughly explain everything, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point. A few months later, a new manager took over. When we met her, we discussed our last issues with our landlord, including all the things we were told. The new manager said that the next lease would not be a negotiable term. She said that the complex only offers full year leases. She wrote an addendum to allow us to drop out of the next lease without any penalty; we would only need to provide 30 days notice. Everything seemed okay, until the next manager came about two months before our lease went up. The new manager was the worst. She actually threw out the addendum that the previous manager wrote, claiming it only applied to the current lease and not the new lease. In response to this and other things, we made the decision to leave. We got so tired of hearing different things all the time. The apartment complex just doesn’t seem to have anything together. Perhaps someone out there will read this and decide not to live there based on this post.
Julie and I moved in with our friend Brad in March. Although things are pretty tight, and we have less privacy than we are used to having, I feel much safer here with our moving issue.

One Reply to “The apartment situations”

  1. We also asked on several occasions, like before we paid the application fee and signed each set of leases, whether or not it was a fixed lease. And what do you know, she said yes every time. Then, surprise surprise, rent went up and “she didn’t know” that would happen. Josephine was sooooooo full of bologna.

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