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STOP!!! I may soon be homeless

I have plenty now, thanks!

paypal_logo(1)

Done, finished, well past what I need, stop giving and thanks!

Should take you to my paypal page, my paypal email is darksydothemoon [break-remove]-‘at’-aol-dot-com name Steve Andrew. Physical address available at request in comments.

Once again I’m desperate, this time facing homelessness. See, one of the ways apartment complexes for the less well to do prey on poor tenants these days is by cooking up charges on top of the stated rent, clearly intended to transfer costs from the owner to the tenant and generate lucrative late fees in ther bargain. My complex has done this to me several times; they accept my rent, a cashiers check since I have an out of town account, then I find out a week or two later there was another fee so they didn’t deposit the rent and retroactively tossed in all kinds of later charges. They’ve done this twice while I was recoveing from the widowmaker,

To make a long story short I couldn’t swing it this time; $ ~1200 they’re now demanding for my $500 shitty studio apartment. It’s bizarre, it’s surreal to write this and read what I’ve written, but the truth is I’m about to be homeless. I’m ashamed to ask for any help, but homelessness is even more shameful, in my current state of health it could be fatal. You guys are under no obligation to kick in anything, if I don’t get a dime out of this I won’t hold any resentment and I’ll keep on blogging for as long as I can.

Coming off of disability, 60% base pay, calculated by using 60% of the disability period my doc recommended which means an efective rate of 0.36 base pay, while my medical expenses doubled, left me broke, I just didn’t have any reserve. I asked if they could would accept $800, every dime I had and could pawn or borrow. They said they’d see if that were acceptable — the next day eviction papers were served, which I take to mean the answer was no.

I work two jobs plus FTB, every single day I work, seven days a week, between six and 12 hours, with no hobbies, no vices, no social life, and yet I still simply don’t make enough to cover the expenses incurred from a heart attack, disability calculated from already terrible base pay, and subsequent surgery, heart meds, copays, utitilies and rent. It’s not a moral failing, it’s sure not laziness on my part, it’s just math.

I’ll tell you, it’s good I’m not the suicidal type, my whole problem is I want to live, I love life, I like everything about it. So I’m not going to end it over this or anything else. And yet I found myself toying with the best and easiest way to clock out in case that becomes the only option.

I have a plan, I’m going to have to stiff the landlord for now and use that money and future checks to buy a tiny piece of property. It’s very cheap and that way I can at least pitch a tent if need be and not worry about sleeping under a bridge or straining frendships by couch serfing, or trying to shuttle between homeless shelters. It stressed me out so bad my heart went into an irregular beat and I had to go to the ER, creating yet another huge bill to come.

Comments

  1. brucemartin says

    Hi Stephen,
    I think there may be a typo in your posted address, unless you have two of them. I think it begins with “darKside” with a k.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  2. smhll says

    In some of the towns/cities where I live there are social service nonprofits that will help low income clients with a sudden expense with their rent or rental deposit. (People who are completely unemployed fall right through this particular safety net which requires that one be able to pay next months rent.)

    In one city near me the agency that administers this program is Catholic Social Services. (When I refer people there I emphasize that the services are not just for Catholics.) (The process of getting or not getting services is probably guaranteed to be annoying.)

    The yanking you around with surprise fees truly sucks.

  3. mildlymagnificent says

    Can’t get to any useful address from the link.

    (Can’t afford much anyway but I hope every little bit helps. Once the link is fixed I’ll do it.)

  4. angle says

    Man, our culture is really getting fucked up. I look at this, and I should be surprised, or indignant, or something, but I’m not surprised at all. This kind of blatantly selfish con artistry is just what I’ve come to expect from people. This is what happens when you elevate greed as an ideal, and it’s not going to end well.

    [/political rant]

    I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time of it. I’m afraid I have nothing to give, but I hope you pull through.

  5. lanir says

    Wow… You know the amount they’re asking is likely getting kind of close to enough to just move into a new place. Maybe they’re suggesting something there.

  6. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Bloody hell! :-(

    Surely that can’t be legal can it? Dreadful situation and you have my sympathies and thoughts, broke myself too sadly.

    Hope things work out -wonder if you should consider getting free legal advice from your friends a swell.

    I’d offer to let you crash at my place but that’d mean a flight to Australia for you..

  7. Francisco Bacopa says

    You might want to check the legal clinic at UT Law. It’s actually a lot harder to get someone evicted from an apartment that they make it out to be, and lots of places in Texas have additional local tenant’s rights laws. I’ve lived in lots of apartments and seen some weird stuff, but never heard of anything like this.

    Also, you might want to get the media involved. Surely some station in Austin has a public interest reporter. Be nice if you could make these people pay.

  8. Billy Clyde Tuggle says

    I don’t know about Texas, but in California if a tenant has occupied a rental for two-years or more, then they have 60 days from the time they are given written notice to vacate before the landlord can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit and evict them. Definitely research your legal rights. I hope it is otherwise, but knowing the reputation of Texas, I am guessing that the protections are more favorable to the landlord there and less favorable to the tenant compared with California.

    Hopefully you can find a better landlord next time. A more hands on landlord of a small complex or private residence might be more likely to work with you on rent shortfalls. Eviction is not usually a good option for a small-scale landlord. The last thing a small-scale landlord wants to lose is an otherwise hardworking responsible tenant. I have traded repairs and upgrades on the property both when I was a tenant and later when I was a landlord. It sounds like these big complexes like yours have a business model that assumes that all tenants are potential deadbeats. The exorbitant late charges are probably there to fund the cost of more-or-less planned evictions.

    Good luck with your situation. Yours is a perfect example of why we need a better social safety net in the US.

    \BCT

  9. Lofty says

    Use the email address in the about author box, guys. I sent $20 because I had good work this week and own all of my home, modest that it is.
    Stephen, being homeless is scary, hope you get somewhere quickly.

  10. says

    At least in California, those late fees ARE illegal. If I’m understanding correctly, they’re charging 700 in late fees for an apartment that is 500 in rent?

    First thing’s first, start finding a different place to live. Second, look up tenant law in your state. Most states limit late fees to interest only or outright ban them. Contact legal aid if you can, but lines for that are long and you may just have to tell them to fuck off.

    Where I used to live, they tried to charge me 300 on a late fee once for a 900 dollar apartment. I sent a cheque for the usual amount saying they could cash it or I could call my attorney. They cashed it and I moved out two months later.

  11. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Kicked in a little bit. Wish it could be more.

    We need a better health care system in the US AND a better safety net. The hardest couple of years for my family were the ones following my husbands heart problems (multiple blockages requiring 3 stents) we were lucky enough to have insurance but still ended up paying a lot. The next year my daughter broke her arm and required 2 surgeries…

    Getting hurt or sick should NOT mean having to decide whether to pay the hospital bills or the electric bill, the prescription cost or the food bill.

  12. Francisco Bacopa says

    Texas law may have changed, but back when I was involved in property mgt, it was similar to what BC Tuggle described in comment #8. They have to file legal notice with the court that handles rental disputes, usually JP or muni court, an official vacate notice has to come from county or precinct law enforcement, and then the fun begins. It takes two months to get someone out of a property if they are a long term tenant, and the tenant gets a day in court.

    I checked to see if UT Law has a free legal clinic. Their website suggests that they don’t. Is there a “second string” law school in Austin.

    Also, did some media research and found these guys. Might want to give them a call:

    http://www.kvue.com/news/defenders

    And this whole thing about not depositing your rent because the $15 quarterly trash fee or whatever that they didn’t even tell you about was missing and them pining on late fees greater than the value of the monthly rent is total bullshit. Also, when is your rent due and how long did they take to notify you that you have a problem? There may be some legal irregularities there.

    I hope that you choose to fight this. I really think you have a good case and I wish you the best of luck.

  13. says

    I want to echo what diddimus is saying. A late fee of 700 dollars for a 500 dollar rent is usurious and you should notify them that you will not be paying it. They won’t take you to court because the second you show the judge a piece of paper where they’re assessing you 700 dollars in late fees for a 500 dollar rent, he’ll kick their ass twenty ways from Sunday.

    Find a different place to live asap, stiff them completely, and feel free to ruin these landlord’s reputations. If they’re charging a 700 dollar late fee for a 500 dollar rent, they deserve to be ruined and destroyed – that kind of insane behaviour is unconscionable and is how scummy people try to profit from the working class; knock on your neigbhour’s doors, write online reviews warning people away, notify the property manager if they’re separate from the landlord and they’ll get enough of a black mark they’ll never be able to find work in the industry again.

    They deserve no pity, every time you think they do, think of every single mother with three kids they’d gladly do the same to.

  14. says

    And to follow up, I just looked at the laws in Texas because some of the comments say that’s where you’re at. Reading the below we find that late fees in Texas must be in the lease and they must be a reasonable estimation of the damage the landlord suffered as a result of your not paying in full on time.

    No way in Hell is 700 dollars a reasonable estimation. Refuse to pay, keep the paper, couch surf, grab a lawyer, take the landlord to court. You’ll also find that should you take them to court and the judge find him in violation, you’re entitled to 2200 dollars plus attorney’s fees.

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PR/htm/PR.92.htm#92.019

    Sec. 92.019. LATE PAYMENT OF RENT; FEES.

    (a) A landlord may not charge a tenant a late fee for failing to pay rent unless:

    (1) notice of the fee is included in a written lease;

    (2) the fee is a reasonable estimate of uncertain damages to the landlord that are incapable of precise calculation and result from late payment of rent; and

    (3) the rent has remained unpaid one full day after the date the rent was originally due.

    (b) A late fee under this section may include an initial fee and a daily fee for each day the rent continues to remain unpaid.

    (c) A landlord who violates this section is liable to the tenant for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the amount of the late fee charged in violation of this section, and the tenant’s reasonable attorney’s fees.

    (d) A provision of a lease that purports to waive a right or exempt a party from a liability or duty under this section is void.

    (e) This section relates only to a fee, charge, or other sum of money required to be paid under the lease if rent is not paid as provided by Subsection (a)(3), and does not affect the landlord’s right to terminate the lease or take other action permitted by the lease or other law. Payment of the fee, charge, or other sum of money by a tenant does not waive the right or remedies provided by this section.

  15. Randomfactor says

    Had to send it twice, typo in the e-mail address.

    I know it’s possible to create a direct link to your account. Help seems to be down at PayPal, but if you do this again a direct link would have avoided a lot of annoyance.

  16. elpayaso says

    sorry you have the misfortune to live in this state with such shitty tenant/consumer protectiuon laws. i like your long term solution and tossed in a little. a cheap travel trailer and a kindred spirit who’d let you park it there might be a good plan. good luck….you’ve had enough bad lately that one hopes the law of averages will swing things in the right direction eventually

  17. says

    Chipped in as much as I could afford. It always astounds me how little compassion that people are shown in desperate situations. Hopefully all of us readers can make things a little better for you. Keep up the awesome writing, you deserve -far- better than this.

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @22. Stephen “DarkSyde” Andrew :

    You already know this intellectually I sure but you are certainly NOT worthless. Zingularity is one of my favourite blogs and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the things you’ve very well written elsewhere (eg. in at least one of the Darwin Awards anthologies) too. You’re a published writer, a prominent blogger and one of the good guys. Thanks for all you’ve done and really hoping things life~wise turn around soon and work out well for you.

  19. Karen Locke says

    I dropped a bit in the pot too. No, Steven, you’re not worthless, you’re a wonderful writer and probably very good at your other jobs and, at least from the persona you show online, are a a very interesting and insightful person. You’re just going through a very bad patch right now. You’re in a desperate position and I doubt very much if any of your readers think less of you because you asked for help. You’ll get through this.

  20. lawngnome says

    The button at the top isn’t working for me. What is the email address I should send a donation to?

  21. leepicton says

    I had a small balance cash balance I didn’t even know was there on paypal. You need it a lot more than I do. Hope it helps.

Trackbacks

  1. […] you’re just out of luck — the working poor get thoroughly screwed by the system. Stephen Andrew of The Zingularity is working two jobs, coming off a major heart attack, and is about…. I guess his real problem is that he’s one of the moochers who didn’t vote for […]

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