A Rental Nightmare Avoided
I live in a college town in North Carolina where there is a shortage of on-campus housing and, therefore, a constant demand among students for
off-campus rental housing.
Among these students is a daughter of a friend of mine who attends the college and who had problems with an off-campus rental. We'll call this young
lady Nancy. Nancy and her father approached me about the situation knowing that I was a real estate broker with property management experience.
In January, 2006, Nancy picked up an application to rent an apartment unit from ABC Management Company (not the real name of the company).
ABC advised her that she was taking over an existing lease from another student tenant who had already vacated the property.
When Nancy asked to have a new lease drawn up between her and ABC, she was told that this was against company policy. Apparently, any student
who vacated prior to the lease expiration had to be replaced with another student tenant who would take over and be bound by the terms of the
So, Nancy was not allowed to create and sign a new lease in her own name with ABC; she was expected to step into the former tenant's shoes and
assume the obligations of the former tenant under that existing lease. As Nancy turned in her completed application form and fee, she was told to
complete a Change in Tenant form with her application, which she did, without even being given the chance to sign or receive a copy of the existing
Lesson #1 for Nancy: Don't ever bind yourself to a rental agreement (or any legal contract) that you have not had a chance to review thoroughly! It's
just plain bad business practice to agree to a contract that was made with a third party and then assigned to you if you have not had a chance to fully
read, understand and agree to the terms!
Another odd circumstance is that Nancy was allowed to move into the rental unit without final approval of her application! She was told to pay a
Security Deposit of $175, which she did, alo