These are my friends, Ben and Heather.
(One look shows you that these are dishonest, skeevy people who clearly have a bad marriage.)
They rented an apartment in Marshall, NC for $800 a month — a lot, but they really liked the place.
Heather, an underemployed college student, swept floors in the commons area for $150 a month. When hard times hit them, they found a cheaper place to live. They asked their landlord, who is also Ben’s boss, to let them out of the lease early, and to take their last month’s rent out of the money they paid up front — 1 month’s rent, plus $500 security ($1300).
He agreed. No problem. Heather could even keep sweeping the floors after they moved out. They got ready to move.
But several weeks into their plan, the landlord/boss changed his mind and told them the new story was that their rent (the rent he agreed to take out of their move-in deposit) was 6 weeks late. And that Heather would not be paid for cleaning the floors anymore, even though she’d been cleaning them all month.
He also said they are responsible for their $800/mo. rent through the end of the lease, even if they move out. And that they aren’t getting any of their $1300 deposit back.
Then he advertised their place on Craigslist for $150 cheaper than what they had been paying for months (they eventually learned that their old rent price was more than any other renter in the building, even though theirs is not the largest or nicest rental).
Then he evicted them for not paying rent they paid up front months ago (not to mention the $500 they deserve back for keeping the place spotless.)
It gets worse.
He fired Ben.
Ben asked if he had been slow, or done poor work. He was told no, but being fired (IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION, WITH NO PROSEPCTS, SUPPORTING A WIFE DEPSERATELY SEEKING WORK) would be a “good life lesson.”
The topper? Heather is three months pregnant with their first child.
Evil landlord had to know.
Please spread the word: the man taking money for this rental at 133 S. Main St. in Marshall is a conniving rat bastard of the lowest kind.
The takeaways: Always get agreements in writing, even if it’s awkward, even from your boss, and never, ever rent from this sack of shit.
My friends are OK. As they are honest and decent people, they are surrounded by love and help. But if you have a construction job lead for Ben or job idea for Heather (senior Spanish student looking for work in helping women, families and low-income communities, esp. through healthcare), please comment.
And hey, Evil Landlord: As you sow, so shall you reap.
** Added June 20: Evil Landlord/Boss took $200 out of Ben’s final paycheck, citing “damage to plants.” What damage was done and when, he never bothered to tell Ben. I couldn’t make this up.