I mixed business and friendship, and live to regret it.
January 17, 2012 2:52 PM Subscribe
I rented an apartment owned by a friend (big mistake). She hasn't maintained the apartment and now I'm unsure how I should handle the situation.
In Toronto, ON.
I rented a suite in a house owned by an acquaintance of mine (not a close friend, though our social circles do overlap) in May of last year. This apartment has a beautiful balcony overlooking the street, which was in my mind the main selling feature of this particular apartment.
In mid-August we noticed that our balcony was collapsing and was very unsafe; she came up and inspected it, told us to keep off it, and said she would be getting a contractor to fix it. In October, a contractor came, said it needed to be fixed and was unsafe, and left. I received a phone call from said friend saying that the estimate was too high and she didn't want to spend the money at that time, and instead refinished her own bathroom. Now, it's almost February and our balcony is still in severe disrepair. It's not looking like it will get fixed before March or April. I am moving out, because of this and other reasons, and she's agreed to let us out of the lease in April, a month early.
This is all somewhat straightforward, legally speaking. If it were any other landlord or rental agency, I would call the province to send an inspector, have a work order filed, then file with the Landlord Tenant Board to get renumeration for the time that we were unable to use what I view as reduced/discontinued service to a facility. But, because I don't like standing up for myself or making people mad at me, I've so far kept quiet.
I don't want to be greedy about this, but I feel like a sucker for letting our friendship get in the way of my enjoyment of my apartment. This isn't the only repair she's cheaped out on, though it's the only one that is ongoing. I do think that she doesn't view my full enjoyment of the apartment that I'm paying a pretty penny for as important, and I do think that she thinks our friendship is a reason for me to be 'understanding' about her not wanting to spend the money on the repairs. Whether she has intended that or not, I feel taken advantage of.
I'm not terribly concerned about ending the friendship if that comes about because I'm being fair to myself, but I don't want to appear greedy or villainous to mutual friends. I'm also concerned that she'll withhold a reference and make it more difficult for me to find a new apartment if I say anything about it before I have secured a new place.
What do you guys think would prudent action? Just keep my mouth shut and suck it up? Ask her for a rent reduction for the remaining time here, or going back to when we lost use of the balcony? What's a reasonable amount? Is it ethical to wait until I've gotten a good reference from her (we've been model tenants) and then file the paperwork? I hate making waves, but I also feel kind of crappy not standing up for myself.