Need some help with a lying roommate.
November 14, 2008 2:37 PM Subscribe
My new roommate (of 2 weeks) lied to me about why the gas was turned off. I'm subletting, and I'm getting out. Do I have any option for recourse?
posted by sacrifix to law & government (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I moved in to a new place on the first of this month. I met the roommate through Craigslist. She seemed to be personable (a bit of a chatty Cathy, but oh well) and responsible. This perception changed drastically yesterday.
When I went over on the first to pay my first month's rent and get the keys, she let me know that the water heater had been working intermittently, and that the landlord's son would be over within a few days to fix it. Apparently he never came by. I dealt with this for a week or so, because my parents live a few blocks away so it's not difficult for me to walk over there in the morning to take a shower. She told me a few times that she had talked to the landlord's son and to PG&E (the gas company) and that it would be resolved soon. Come to find out that the gas issue also involves the heat and the stove, so I'm unable to sleep without a space heater and many blankets, and I can only cook in the microwave.
I had my dad come over and take a look at everything, to see if we could get the pilot light lit on the heater, on the water heater, etc. No dice.
Fast forward to this last Saturday (the 8th), where I put my foot down and let her know that there's no way that I would have moved in as quickly as I did (I had 17 days of overlap with my previous house) if I had known about this issue. She explained that she was very sorry, and would raise hell with the landlord and her son. (The reason why the landlord's son is involved is because the landlord barely speaks English) She got on the phone with PG&E and scheduled the first available appointment to have someone come out and determine where the problem was.
This appointment ended up being yesterday. I took the day off of work to be at home to meet the PG&E guy, and the landlord's son. I hung around the house, played some video games, did some organizing of my new room, etc. About 3:30 I started to get concerned and called PG&E to see about the status of the technician, and when I should expect him to come. The person on the phone let me know that not only was there no technician scheduled to come, but there is no active account at my address. I asked if I could set up an account and was told that due to non-payment of the previous account, I would need to fax a new lease agreement to set up new service.
So the situation is that I'm 2 weeks into my new place, and there is no heat, hot water or a working stove. I have been lied to by my roommate (I was in the room with her when she was supposedly making the appointment with PG&E, I wonder who she was actually talking to). I cannot set up a new account with PG&E because since I am subletting I don't have a lease agreement to send them. I have signed no paperwork with the landlord or with my roommate. I have paid a $500 deposit and first months rent (which, conveniently, just cleared today).
I called my roommate yesterday after I got off of the phone with PG&E. She didn't answer (she was at work), I left a message explaining the situation and asking her for an explanation. She did not call back. I called back later on in the evening, she didn't answer, I didn't leave a message. I called her back today (she is not working today), and got no answer. I left her another message. I sent her a text message asking her to please respond to my voicemails. I called again, she didn't answer, I didn't leave a message.
What do I do now? In the last voicemail I left, I told her I would be moving out by the first. I get the feeling that I have been scammed. Is there anything that I can do to ensure that I get my deposit back? Also, am I able to take her to small claims court for lying to me about the gas situation (and therefore coercing me to move into a non-livable living situation)?
I apologize for the long rambling nature of this question, but I'm pretty heated (or not) right now and not making much sense.