Where Will I Live in My New City?
I grew up and lived my entire life, just south of Birmingham, Alabama. I have traveled, but only lived in Alabama. I have worked and planned for several years to make this move, and I finally was ready to make the move to Nashville, Tennessee.
There I was, in a new city, in a new state. It was a whole new World, But I am not Jasmin (from Aladdin). I had started a new job, but not yet found the place I wanted to live. Since my work days were Monday-Thursday, I would drive up on Monday and then back to Birmingham on Thursday. I was being a bit picky but it would be where I would spend most of my time and money.
I had some big demands. I wanted to live downtown, in a high rise apartment building. I wanted a one bedroom, with updated appliances and counter tops, wooden floors, and a city view from a balcony. I wanted it to be a secure facility that was gated. I also wanted it to have a nice pool and fitness center. Most importantly, I needed it to be affordable.
So I finally found a great place in the Gulch. It met most of my requirements. The biggest set back was the monthly cost and initial fees. I discussed it with a leasing agent and she did a little checking and "bargaining" for me and was able to meet me half way. They agreed to give me the first two months "free" in order to lower the rent each month, and they offered a free parking place instead of charging me the regular $100/month parking fee. They also quoted me a move in fee of no deposit, just first month pro-rated rent.
Move-in day was here. I arrived at the apartment all excited. I had been living in AirBnbs for almost two months and was ready for my own place. I felt a little uneasy when I saw all the homeless people just hanging out around the entrance. Then, as I entered the building, one guy followed me in, asking for money. There was no security to stop him from getting into the building nor from entering the elevator.
I made my way to the leasing office to discover that my paperwork was not ready. I was a little disappointed, because I was tired and ready to get moved in but I had waited this long, I could wait another hour or so. About an hour later, the leasing agent had my lease ready to be signed and asked for my card to take payment for fees and deposit. When I looked at the amount, I was in shock. The rent they had listed was almost double what we had agreed on, the fees were outrageous and they were even charging me for parking.
I refused to pay or sign anything because I had not made this agreement. The leasing agent tried to explain but nothing made any sense. I asked for the manager, who finally surfaced and acted as if I was just a trouble maker. She explained that these fees and deposits were non negotiable and that the rent is standard. She went on to say that they never agree to free parking. I had copies of emails and texts that had everything that was agreed upon. The manager was dumbfounded with no explanation. One of the emails even had her signature on it.
The manager tried to get me to sign the lease so I could get moved in and she would make the corrections the following day. I couldn't believe she would even ask me to do that. I may be female and single but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant. Then she stated that I could use my free rent to apply to the first month pro-rated rent but it would raise my monthly rent even more.
At that point, I realized I would not be able to reason with these people nor did I want to enter into a contract with people I didn't trust. Since I had not signed the lease, I was only out about $400 for administration and application fees. I was very disappointed but proud of myself for standing my ground. I knew I would find another place, even if I had to compromise on my wants.
The search continued.