By Josh Weber
My family just got robbed of our rent. We have two girls and a baby on the way, so this is extremely tough. For the first time since my oldest child was born, thoughts of homelessness cross my mind.
We were trying to move from one place to another. The new rental we found is the same size as where we lived before, just cheaper and a further commute. Finally we could save a little, and our kids would still have their own room and space.
We were struggling to get in with individual agents, each charging us around $100 for applications or credit checks. We felt like we were getting ripped off from each agent, so after a few hundred dollars, we chose an agency. An agency, we thought, would be a safer approach.
We found an agency and they quickly helped us find a place. We gave our landlord our notice and put down a deposit on the new rental. A week passed, we packed our bags, reserved a truck and arranged for help to move.
On the first of the month, the agency, acting as a middleman for the landlord, told us that he needed a reference from my current landlord, who had not responded to them. We contacted our current landlord and he explained to us that he doesn’t give referrals or reviews. I asked that he inform the new landlord of his policy on references.
They responded back that the response was inadequate and that we were denied. We immediately wrote back saying that we could get a review. We called our landlord and he made the exception and wrote the review. Two days later, we were denied again. They asked where to send the check. We asked why. No explanation or response was given.
Today, we received the reimbursement of our deposit. They withheld $1,540 from the total deposit — $960 for putting the house back on the market, $580 for rent for the days the house could have been on the market.
We thought we could only lose money if something was fraudulent or they couldn’t verify our work or how long we lived there. That is what our contract said. That’s why I know I’ll win it back in court. But in the meanwhile, this robbery has only increased our struggle to get into a place. Not only are we now short $1,500, we have also given our landlord notice and are expected to move.
But I have my family.