Andrew McDevitt’s Story

“When we moved in, day one, the house was in shambles.” So begins the three-year move-in nightmare of Andrew McDevitt, a recent Temple University graduate. Like most university upperclassmen, after freshmen year, Andrew moved into an off-campus apartment. And like most college students, his landlord took advantage of him from the first day.

Problems arose for Andrew and his roommates immediately once they moved in. Safety plates from the hot water heater were missing as well as knobs from the stove, which were never all fully replaced. The worst part of this apartment? It would precipitate in the living room. Not rain, snow, or sleet- but human waste. While describing the second-floor bathroom ‘iffy’ at best, Andrew retells whenever someone would flush the second-floor toilet, it would overflow and rain toilet water into the living room. Countless times he and his roommates would call the landlord in a panic, to no avail. The water would collect in a puddle in the ceiling, which was covered in mold and made the entire apartment wreak like a port-a-potty. The only solution? Right before he and his roommates moved out, the landlord simply painted over the molding ceiling.

Despite the subpar living conditions, Andrew, and his roommates decided to live in the same apartment for a third year because of the location. Unbeknownst to them, their landlord had the lease for their apartment signed with other tenants. So, they were forced to move. Wanting to keep a similar location, Andrew, and his roommates moved into the apartment next door, also managed by the same landlord.

Identical to their last housing experience, Andrew, and his roommates faced housing difficulties from the very first day. While the landlord showed them their new apartment, Andrew, and his roommates were not impressed with the conditions of their house. “There were human feces in the toilet, that they didn’t flush out of there. The kitchen was a mess,” says Andrew. “When she (the landlord) took us into the basement, we were like ‘That’s mold!’ All over the wall. And she was like no, no, no, that’s the good mold, you don’t understand.’ I’m no scientist, but I’m not familiar with the ‘good mold’.” This was the beginning of another tumultuous year of renting, with problems ranging from suspected theft by repairmen to maintenance showing up unannounced at outlandish times.

According to Forbes, 82% of Millennials with bachelor’s degrees lived on their own in 2012. This means that young or first-time renters face the problem of not knowing their rights as a tenant. The result? Landlords having the power to profit from this inexperience. Andrew’s landlord did not come for repairs after knowing that maintenance work needed to be done and his landlord did not give them at least 24 hours notice before entering. These are two things that landlord cannot do- but as fresh renters, millennials often have a hard time distinguishing what landlords can and cannot do. Don’t move into your next apartment uninformed

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