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Luck Saves a Boston Apartment Hunter From Craigslist

Curbed Horror Stories are firsthand reader reports about terrible Greater Boston apartment experiences past and present. This week, in honor of Renters Week 2015, we're having a rental horror story showdown across all Curbed sites, with the winner receiving a staycation. Up now: a desperate quest to avoid picking another roommate from Craigslist.

I don't think there is very much that can beat the story that was posted about the girls who were victims of a bait-and-switch but here goes my rental experience.

It was 2009 and I needed to move out of the two-bedroom I had rented with a Craigslist roommate as it had quickly become an all-around bad situation. I knew I didn't want a new roommate but had a modest budget for a one-bedroom or studio with an open concept so the search began.

The first place I saw was in a great location but once inside the building we literally could not find the unit. We searched and searched and even asked a current tenant if they knew where this unit was. We then went in the breaker room to see if there was a box for the unit. No box for the unit's power. There was one door in the hallway down by the breaker room that didn't have a number on it so we figured we would try the lock because we had looked at every other door in the building. Sure enough, that was the place!

Once inside we noticed the ceiling was all of a foot above our heads (and we were both on the shorter side, under 5 feet, 4 inches) and that half the room was up on a step that was two feet higher than the rest of the floor. The kitchen was brand-spanking-new but there were no windows. The one door took us into the brand-new bathroom but still there weren't any windows. We opened the one last door and it took you into a small crawl space that went up three stories and was full of windows, except that you were a story and a half below where all that frosted glass began. Needless to say, we quickly left.

Next up was the hoarder's apartment. We walked in and smelled nothing but cat urine and saw stuff piled everywhere.

Onto the next. The building seemed great, however the current tenant refused to let us in. The agent had to explain that the tenant had no choice as she had proper notice that the unit would be showed. The tenant then went on and on about how horrible the agency that managed her building was, how the baby and five people who lived next-door kept her up all night, and how her oven was on a tilt and no one would fix it. She finally gave in and said, "Fine I'll show this kind lady the apartment [me] but the agent is not allowed in." The agent almost shoved me into the unit and I was terrified as this lady took me around her unit continuing on about how awful the building was and how she had been such a victim at the hands of everyone who lived there. As soon as I was done being held hostage ... I ran.

Finally, I got a call from an agent saying that a unit that her co-agent had rented had just come back on the rental market because the person who had signed the lease backed out. I went and saw the unit, it was beautiful and sunny and wonderful! Super, I took it and paid an extra month's rent JUST so that I could get that unit. The unit ended up working really well for 3.5 years aside from the centipedes that kept hanging out because the previous owner never filled in the holes in the wall above the door frames.

Had it not been for someone else backing out of a great unit I would have ended up with another horrible Craigslist roommate or ended up in an illegal apartment.

Happy renting!
· Our Renters Week 2015 archive [Curbed Boston]