Back in May I cosigned a lease for an apartment with a friend of a friend running from July to July. Thanks to changing circumstances since then, I can't afford it and I have no choice but to get out of the whole arrangement by September, before university starts back up again. The province I'm in has extremely pro-tenant rental laws, so transferring the lease will not be a problem. What concerns me is dropping this bomb on the cosigner, who is 4000 km away until, well, just when I'd have to leave. Since we were introduced in April for the purposes of being roommates, he's also shown himself to be far more naive than he appears when it comes to stuff like this. But I've also committed a huge error in judgement by signing for this place, and I feel guilty for helping to convince him. I've accepted I'll have to burn more than one bridge. But I'm way too overwhelmed by the hundreds of responsibilities have piled up on my shoulders, and need to tell him very soon. How do I make this as quick, painless and guilt-free as is possible? More on the "changing circumstances" inside: read just the bold bits if you're short on time.
posted by denmarkstreet to Human Relations (6 answers total)
Things have been going very poorly for me ever since the summer started. I landed a well-paying job right after the term ended (a cook at a swanky hotel), where everything went really well for a while. A matter of days after the landlord did the pre-signing reference check, I was switched to a different boss and fired by him soon after because he said I didn't speak French (the workplace's language) well enough. The work I've found in the two months since has been sporadic, temporary and at or below minimum wage. I haven't told the landlord this, which is a huge failure on my part. I can make rent but not do much else.
This is a problem because I also have debt and bad credit to deal with. I owe several thousand on a defaulted credit card from a couple years ago, and almost two grand to the electric company thanks to past roommates who skipped town without paying their fair share. This weighs on my conscience constantly, and has been a major factor in feeding some pretty serious depression and anxiety issues that are ever-present and hold me back from a more active social life, or any dating at all. Since I moved in here a month ago, I noticed my old habits of shutting myself up in my room and self-medicating with booze and drugs are returning. Summer is really the only time I can make progress on debt thanks to the demands of school, and on that count I'm worse off than I was at this time last year.
The cosigner was originally supposed to be here to help me move in and find furnishings, set everything up, etc, but he bounced not even a week after he signed the lease. We split the cost of essentials 50/50, and he paid his share quickly, but I was the one who did all the actual work: tracking down appliances on craigslist, arranging movers, going around town to find free furniture, etc. My monetary investment in the place has been equivalent to about a month's worth of rent.
Everyone involved has demonstrated their naivete. I made a colossal error of judgement by signing in the first place and demonstrating wishful thinking about what sort of money I'd have coming in and my ability to handle stuff like bills. The cosigner is only 20 (I'm 23) and has only lived with roommates for a year (which I didn't find out until later). He also dumped a shitload of work and responsibility onto my plate, the cherry on top being having to find a subletter for his room and paying a portion of their rent to reduce the price to an acceptable "last minute" level. This seems motivated by inexperience and confusion rather than a desire to take advantage of me, but I don't know him well enough to make that call.
So basically I'm tied up in knots wondering how I go about doing all this? My first step is to tell him, but he's been almost impossible to reach since his girlfriend travelled out to his current location last week. We talked on the phone briefly a few days ago and I tried to drop as many hints as I could that I was having cash flow problems, but I don't think they registered. When I drop the bomb it's going to have to be over the phone as well, which I hate doing, but I guess has to be done.
First of all I wonder what is it that I owe him, aside from timely notice and finding someone to transfer the lease to? If I continue to have the bills half in my name for a few months after I move out and pay them out of my chequing account, am I being a pushover? What I am about to do is a huge dick move, and I feel like shit for it, but my back's against the wall.
I've accepted that the days/weeks of work I put in finding stuff for the place will be for naught. I don't care about most of the furnishings and stuff, because I got them for free anyways, but is it too much to wonder if I can find some way to get my share of the apartment-related costs back? There are no security deposits in Quebec.
I've talked to a few good friends about this, and the consensus was that I should cut and run, rent a cheap room in a cheap area, and try to save up as much as possible. I'm inclined to agree with them. The friend who introduced me to the cosigner lives around the corner, but I haven't seen hide nor hair of her for almost a month.
I fucked up pretty catastrophically and am in way over my head, and although I know this problem is more manageable than it seems, it just doesn't seem that way now and everything is just far too overwhelming. How do I begin to pull myself out of this mess I've created?