We always say there should be a Yelp for roommates, and one post on Craigslist proves it. A Craigslister returned to the site where he found the room to post his own "review" and call out a roommate/poster he calls an intrusive "vile, petty, low-life piece of sh**."
Here's how the story goes: Apparently, the person subletting the room was half an hour late to arrive at the Brooklyn apartment—the room was furnished and $175 a week—and the woman renting out the room was nowhere to be found. He had to call her several times and wait over an hour to gain access. That was the first ominous sign.
Aside from complaints like a brutally uncomfortable bed, neighborhood noise, and a "small dingy bathroom" located at the end of a long hallway, the woman renting out the room was allegedly, um, quite a handfull:
"Her barging in randomly without warning is a regular occurrence. ...About a week before my leaving, she showed up and started screaming about the house not being clean at that exact moment and saying she would be keeping part of my deposit for it regardless. One night she woke me up past 12 am screaming about a red SUV in the driveway. ...That was the only time she awoke me, but I would often find my things moved around when I got up early in the morning." Oy.
When it was time to move out, he says, she insisted he move out one day early, forcing him to stay in a hotel for the night. "Looking back, I would have gladly paid $2,000 to live with a respectable landlord. Lesson learned," he writes. (Click to enlarge screengrabs of the full rant—with identifying details scrubbed—if you dare.)
We checked in with Matt Hutchinson, founder of SpareRoom, a website that helps connect New Yorkers with roommates and rooms in larger apartments, to see how you can avoid a disaster like this:
First, you might have to take some lumps. "Things like a crappy bed, useless refrigerator and so on are the kinds of things you can see for yourself before you move in if you see the room before you take it," he says. "Unfortunately it's almost impossible to do that if you're moving to New York from another city!"
And, while Hutchinson says it helps to get things in writing, chances are you're out of luck if you find yourself in a similar situation. "Subletting is widespread in New York and, as often as not, works well for tenant and leaseholder alike, but it's not regulated like standard tenancies are," he explains.
"If you're subletting an apartment you need to be aware that all the rules put in place to regulate landlords and tenants are unlikely to apply. These laws cover various aspects of renting, from security deposits to how much notice your landlord needs to give you in advance of visiting the property, and are there to protect both landlord and tenant.
"If you're going to sublet then try and get as much in writing in advance as you can but, realistically, that still might not cover you, especially if the leaseholder is subletting illegally."
So, we suggest you do your best to either check out the place and speak to the sublettor in advance and in person, or at least talk to them by phone, Skype or FaceTime. And, yes, trust your gut. If something doesn't seem right, keep looking. For a more lighthearted palate-cleanser re: horrible roommate stories, check out the video below: