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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308519  
Subject: Re: Son leaving Apt. lease early Date: 12/1/2013 1:23 PM
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Due to spending his earned income, savings, Roth IRA & maxing out 4 credit cards with debt, my son is moving back home to Start-Over. I confess it was disheartening to learn that he had tapped into his savings & Roth IRA.

Does he have money to pay the IRS penalties for taking money out of the IRA before he's 59 1/2? If not, that needs to be his first priority from a money perspective - he needs to have the money to pay the IRS before April 15.

I suspect that his 2 co-tenants(girlfriend & boyfriend couple) took advantage of his friendship, since his share of the $654 rent was $420?? No calculations to explain this $420 was provided by co-tenants, nor did he request any.

If the rent alone (excluding cable & electricity) really is $654, and he was really paying $420 PLUS 1/3 of cable and electricity, I would say that your son is very good at allowing people to take advantage of him. However, my guess is that the rent PLUS cable and electricity is probably around $840, and because the couple was using 1 of 2 bedrooms, they were paying half and he was paying the other half.

In that case, I would say he still let himself be taken advantage of, because all 3 of them were using the electricity, cable and common areas (kitchen, living room, etc.) and he should have negotiated a better deal with his co-tenants.

Since nobody can be taken advantage of unless they allow themselves to be, your son needs to understand that the choice he made to not ask for any explanations of what he was paying for was what put him in this position.

My son was one of 3 tenants who signed a year's lease that will end in April 2014. So he is leaving on unpleasant terms.
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Tomorrow, my son will be stopping by the rental office to obtain a copy of the lease agreement & to inquire of their suggestions/policy, etc.


Wait - you said your son signed the lease. Why doesn't he have a copy of it already?

I would suggest that the first thing that your son needs to do is to look up the tenant landlord laws in his state, and understand what the state says his responsibility is in this situation. Some states will just defer to the lease, while others may have laws/guidance for these types of issues. If it's just dependent on the lease, then I would strongly suggest that he JUST get a copy of the lease from the office, and NOT ask them about suggestions/policies, etc. UNTIL he reads the lease. The apartment office isn't there to get in the middle of disputes between roommates - just to manage the apartments per the signed agreement. Additionally, since your son seems to put himself into positions where he can be taken advantage of, asking for suggestions at the apartment office without actually understanding what he's responsible for PER THE LEASE may end up with him being taken advantage of again - the people managing the apartments may suggest to him that he pay more than he is legally responsible for so that they can be more assured of getting their payment in full.

When he reads the lease, he needs to determine what the LEASE says he is legally responsible for and make sure that's in agreement with what the state law says. If the lease is only for the apartment, excluding cable and electricity, then he's responsible for that part of the apartment rent unless he is allowed to find someone to take over his part of the lease, and is able to do that.

If the electricity and cable are included in the lease, then he may be responsible for those, too, depending on what the lease says.

If the electricity and cable are not included in the lease, then he needs to understand whose name the accounts are in. If the accounts are fully in his name, then he's responsible for the accounts until they are closed. In that case, he needs to get the account agreements that he signed, and see if he is required to keep the accounts until a particular date, or if he can cancel the accounts. If he can cancel, then he can tell his roommates he is cancelling, and that they need to open their own account. If he can't cancel, then he may need to pay those bills, too. If the cable account is any more than basic service, then he could decrease his cost by changing it to basic service.

If the accounts are partially in his name, then he also needs to get copies of the account agreements that he signed for those accounts, and determine what he can do about removing his name and/or cancelling service.

Once he finds out what he's legally responsible for, he needs to find out if he can sublease those responsibilities. If so, he needs to work on that right away - not depending on his roommates to do so.

AJ
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