You Can’t Lease Out Friendship

, , , , | Friendly | January 17, 2019

(My friend bought a house and rented out the extra rooms to his (our) friends. The rent is $400/month, plus utilities. It’s a great arrangement – we’re all friends, we basically just hang out all the time, and we rarely argue. A year into living together, my friend wants to expand as a landlord and tries to buy another house that had been turned into three smaller apartments. For whatever reason, he suddenly has to have leases for his current roommates/tenants. He draws up a basic lease we all agree on, we sign it and life goes on. Each year we live together, we go over the lease and make adjustments accordingly before signing. About four months into our third year together, one of our roommates says he is moving out to live with his girlfriend at the end of the month. At the beginning of the next month, my friend comes to my bedroom door.)

Me: “Hey, what’s up?”

Friend: “Hey, uh, so about your rent…”

Me: “Did the check not go through? It should have. I can run to the bank in the morning.”

Friend: “No, it’s— I didn’t deposit it. Uh, you’re short.”

Me: “…How’s that?”

Friend: “Well, [Roommate] moved out.”

Me: “And?”

Friend: “And, uh, well, when we had five of us, it was $400.”

Me: “Right.”

Friend: “But now there’s four of us, so I need $500.”

Me: *I laugh, hoping he’s joking* “Funny.”

Friend: “No, man, I need the extra $100 from you. We’re all gonna have to split [Roommate]’s rent until someone else moves in.”

Me: “I… I’m not paying you extra. I’m sorry, I’m not.”

Friend: “But I can’t cover the extra $400 every month!”

Me: “Then find someone else to move in. [Roommate] moved out but that doesn’t change the lease.”

Friend: “Oh, f*** the lease, dude. That was a formality the bank wanted so I could get a loan to buy the apartments.”

Me: “Sorry. I’m not paying more.”

Friend: *getting angry* “Then you can move out.”

Me: “Nah.”

(I start to close my door but he puts his hand out and pushes it open again.)

Friend: “What the f*** are you smoking? Get the h*** out of my house!”

Me: “I pay $400 to live here every month. You don’t want me to live here because I’m not willing to pay more than we agreed, you go ahead and try to evict me.”

Friend: “You’re a f****** a**-hole! How am I supposed to afford another $400?!”

Me: “I can’t help you with that. I’m sorry.”

(He walked away and I thought that was the end of it. I went to work the next day, only to come home and find that my house key did not work. I called my friend.)

Friend: “What?”

Me: “Hey, uh… you wanna tell me why the locks were changed?”

Friend: “I told you, pay your rent or get out. You didn’t want to pay so your s*** is in the backyard.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Friend: “Get your s*** off my property by the end of the night or I’m burning it.”

Me: “So… let me get this straight. You lost $400 because [Roommate] moved out. Then when I refused to cover the difference, which is my legal right according to our lease, you kicked me out. Which means you’re out another $400. And you’re evicting me with no written notice because of that?”

Friend: “I’m done with this conversation. Get your stuff, get off my property, or I’m calling the police.”

(I got my stuff — which all conveniently landed in the one muddy spot in the yard, ruining some of my nicer clothes and my MacBook — and went to my parents’ house. They helped me through the legal process and I won. I’m sad it ended that way, but he wasn’t acting like a good friend or landlord at that point, so I don’t really think I’m missing out on much. I ran into [Roommate] a few weeks ago. He told me that our friend had contacted him after he’d moved out and tried to say he owed the rent for the rest of the lease period. [Roommate] pointed out that there was nothing in the lease that says he has to continue paying and hung up.)

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