That Time Our Landlord Hit Us With A $15,000 Dollar Bill

That Time Our Landlord Hit Us With A $15,000 Dollar Bill

The infamous day when I learned me and my roommates owed someone $15,000 started like any other; a cup of coffee, blasting Future through the headphones, and burying myself into another meaningless Excel doc that I probably should have completed the day before. Little did I know this would be the day my life would change forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but for the next 30 days my life was a sleepless, anxiety ridden hell. And, ya know, that’s like a decent amount of time.

When I moved to my current city, I knew one person here and was lucky enough that she knew a few guys who were in need of a third roommate. My first job here paid about as much as a Wal-Mart greeter, and the rental place was dirt cheap and in a pretty good location just south of downtown. The house certainly wasn’t in great condition when I moved in, but what it lacked in appearance it made up for in personality. I ended up living in this house for around a year-and-a-half. It was great.

I’ll skip ahead to avoid getting sentimental for the next four paragraphs about my first house in my newly found city. After 4 years with a total of seven different people moving in and out renting the house, this thing was in poor condition to say the least.

Looking around the house after we had thrown away four years of crap left there from previous roommates, and had a cleaning crew “attempt” to make the place look halfway decent, it was clear we wouldn’t be getting the deposit back. I could tell it was evident they would need to replace the carpet throughout the entire home, paint the entire interior of the house again, and some slight drywall repair considering there were a few small holes after a few rowdy nights.

Pretty typical stuff after 4 years, especially considering the rental company never did an inspection on lease changes or made any updates to the home in those 4 years. Three days after the lease inspection I would come to find out I was wrong; dead wrong.

It was 7 O’clock on the dot – If you read that to the tune of Nice & Slow by Usher then shouts to you – and I received an email from our rental company. The body of the email stated that all the charges included in the attached PDF were not final and could be taken off after further review, or there could be additional charges once a full review was done in 30 days. Not all charges are final?! I’m not a literary genius but I believe the word “Charges” means I owe somebody some money. And using context clues I learned in the 6th grade, I believe the phrase “Could be additional charges” means that I may owe these fools even more money after all is said and done.

Beads of sweat began to drip down my face, and my heart rate was higher than the time I dropped the F-bomb out loud in my 4th grade at a private, Christian school. With a shaky hand on my mouse, I opened the PDF and discovered the rental company was trying to charge us $15,000 in repairs to this house.

Hell to the naw.

Reading through this document they expected us to pay $500 for the trash being by the street in a trash can for regular pickup, $200 for new gutters, $9,000 for new carpet and paint, and $1,000 for drywall repair. Not to mention all these little charges that included things like repairing the fence that was rotting through no fault of our own, repairing the screens on the outside of the window that were falling down, and trimming the bushes and vines that were growing up around the house. They were going to charge $500 for trimming back bushes and vines by the way. I was shook.

So what does someone who listens to trap music daily and acts hard via the internet do after being told he owes somebody $5,000? – $15,000 split between 3 roommates equals $5,000 a piece. We’re moving fast now, fam, try to keep up – I’ll tell you what I did. I started a search on Google to see how much I could get for selling a Kidney on the black market and then called my mom crying like a baby. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Like most young adults, I’m basically living paycheck-to-paycheck and not even worth $5,000 currently. Thoughts of a high interest loan danced through my head.

The reason I called my mother is mom has connects in the hometown, and I figured she may know a good lawyer. Turns out I was right. Dead right. Mom knew someone who we’ll call Steve The Lawyer. Steve The Lawyer would come to be my legal counsel for the next 30 days pro-bono, cause he’s that dude. It doesn’t get any whiter than those last few sentences about how my mom knew a lawyer and I don’t know how to feel about it.

Steve The Lawyer is a gangster. I’ve never actually met Steve The Lawyer, but I imagine him to slap opposing lawyers around like Kurt Russell did Billy Bob Thornton in Tombstone. This guy definitely takes power lunches in his office alone so he can focus on doing some lawyer shit that lawyers do.

The 30 day mark approaches and I inform my man Steve The Lawyer that we haven’t heard anything back from the rental company. Steve The Lawyer being the OG that he is tells me that he’s going to reach out to the rental company via email, and he would let me know how we’ll move forward after their response.

To this very day, I have no idea what Steve The Lawyer said to these people. Did he threaten a lengthy trial? Physically force them to attend a Chainsmokers concert? To play J.Cole over and over again outside their homes until they dropped the charges? Whatever he said to them, it worked.

Two days later the rental company reached out to my roommate and asked where they could send a refund of our security deposit. Again, I’m no literary genius, but “Refund” is a much friendlier word than “Charges.” Within a week my roommate cashed a $600 check out of a $2,000 security deposit. Steve The Lawyer had come through for the team when the chips were down.

Ever since then I’ve been living for Steve The Lawyer. Every time I take a breath of fresh air, I think of Steve The Lawyer. Every time I drink an overpriced beer downtown, I think of Steve The Lawyer. Every time I check my bank account, I think of Steve The Lawyer.

I invite all of you to join me in living for Steve The Lawyer, too.

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Walton Dalton

Favorite spot was the Waffle House.

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