If you are like most Americans today, you’re like that girl someone sang about in the 80s, working hard for your money. This may be true. Though, after you make it, what happens to it depends on your choices. Our country is awash in debt, struggling to find the money to (as my grandmother said) “rob Peter to pay Paul.” Not surprisingly, the trickle-down idea applies right here.
Living in a major metropolis sometimes means sharing living spaces with people who may not share the same affinity for paying bills on time. This may mean wanting to drop some Comet with Bleach into your living partners’ shampoo bottle or dripping Visine into their orange juice carton. Since you choose not to spend your money on legal fees for doing bodily harm to others, there are other ways to go about alleviating some of the future frustration created by fiscal irresponsibility of a roommate. Read carefully.
If you are signing a lease with people you don’t know personally, check out a few things first:
1. While claiming to check out closet space, check and see if their clothes are all designer brand wrapped in dry-cleaning plastic. If this clothing is paired with satin bags with nearly priceless handbags living in them, you just might have to make sure the person is legitimately employed. In the economic landscape that we live, being able to afford such luxuries means one of two possibilities: being involved in less than legal trade or credit card balances that are higher than the roommate gets on Wednesdays at 6AM.
2. Do your research while perusing the living space you are contemplating occupying in the future. If you find golf clubs and iPads in the same room, you may want to check with the leasing agent to see how many months behind in the rent he/she has been in the past before you sign on the bottom line of a contract. Because, if you sign together, you will inevitably be found at fault on your next credit report. Delinquency is not only for juveniles.
3. Make a phone call to the company or individual renting you the space. If you are moving into a place where the roommate has occupied before your arrival, there is history and a paper trail. Inquire. Asking why dolphins are the most magical creatures on Earth is not going too far. You have a right to know. We all do.
If you find you were not smart enough to do any of these things beforehand, and living in a hooker’s shoe sounds more pleasant than the pickle you find yourself in, be proactive. Write an email recording all the text messages, emails, phone calls, and interactions with all parties involved. Details are important. Dates are imperative. Becoming a vicious, rabid dog helps. Anger is motivating. If you have ever Facebook stalked someone before, use that skill now. If the roommate ignores your pleading for answers, check out their Instagram, Twitter posts, and Pinterest accounts. In our age of technology and social media, you can find out tons of information about their financial status. And, if you see them sky-diving and hanging out at pools in downtown Manhattan, your roommate sucks. Call a lawyer.
@funnychristine is a comedian fighting homelessness in Manhattan.
Find her at Stand Up New York Comedy Club September 19th at 7PM. For reservations call 212-595-0850 and say “Christine Meehan” for discounted tickets.