After staying in Sofa City at a bunch of friends’ apartments, I found a room for rent at $125/week. I thought I hit the jackpot, but what I found was actually a tad illegal and shady. I went to a real estate manager’s office for short term rentals. I filled out an application, and was shown this apartment. It was small but they would take my cats and it was a two minute walk to the subway station, not to mention the grocery store across the street. I gave my first week and last week’s rent to my roommate, who also managed the apartment, and picked up my cats from the kennel. Fast forward to a few months later, to where I come home and my roomie’s friend who owns the dry cleaning store across the street is there. He tells me that my roomie is in Miami for a few weeks and he would collect the rent. My roommate lived in Miami for about a year and has friends there, so I didn’t think anything of it. The following day, I got up, did all my laundry, cleaned my room, cleaned the cat litter box and went out to dinner and a conference with a friend. Later that evening, I come home to a messy apartment. Apparently, a search warrant is a piece of paper that allows the police to ransack your apartment, throw your shit on the floor and search everything, including your underwear and your cat litter box. One of my cats, Diablo, who rarely socializes or meows, greeted me at the front door, crying like a crazy cat. Great. I’m living my own version of Law & Order, except there is no hot detective to help me. I read the warrant and it looks as though they searched this apartment and another one for fraudulent papers, aka a fake passport or Social Security Card ring. Now I’m pissed. I don’t feel safe and my cats feel violated. Who keeps fraudulent documents in a cat litter box? I cleaned my room, calmed the cats and went to bed. A few days later, my roommate’s wife comes by the apartment looking for my weekly rent. I explained to her what happened and that no one was here to collect the rent after the warrant incident. She told me I had to have last week’s rent and this week’s rent to her by tomorrow. I said fine. The next day, I told her to come by and pick it up before 230pm and she said okay. At 2:10pm, she asked me to drop it off at the dry cleaner place across the street. I did so, only because I know the owner and I gave it to him after txting her that I gave him the money. The next morning, the super knocked on my door asking for rent. What? I told him that my roommate does that. A few hours later, the building manager comes by, saying that my roommate is two months behind in rent. Of course, he has no business card, and no phone number for me to contact him, but I give him my roommate’s wife’s number. Interesting. As soon as the manager left, I went across the street and asked Mr. Dry Cleaning if the wife picked up my rent money. He said no, prompting me to tell him that the super and the building manager came by asking for rent. I called her, and she did not pick up. So I asked for my rent money, and he gave it to me. A few minutes later, she sent me a txt message saying that she was going to give the apartment back to the building manager in seven or eight days and that it was too much work for her. I just said okay. She then txtd me saying her sister has a room in Manhattan for $150/wk if I wanted it. I declined. I’m not stupid. This morning, she came by asking why I took my rent money back. My other roommate popped in and said, quite frankly, “You told us last week that we have to be out of here by this week because you’re giving the apartment back in a few days, and after the search warrant incident, you still want us to pay? Hell no.” I stiffled my laugh. I told her that she still had my last week of rent from my deposit and that I put a deposit on a new apartment and gave money to the building manager. I also said that she is two months behind in rent and I refuse to give any more money to anyone else until I am guaranteed a place to stay. She had nothing to say about it. My other roommate let her have it, because the police dumped everything he owned on his bed and the floor. Before she left, she said that she would be giving the keys to the super or the building manager on Friday. Yesterday, the super told me there was a woman in the building renting a room for the same price, and it’s actually on the same floor. Meanwhile, I posted ads for the mini fridge, the futon and other things that my roommate let me use. And I’m taking the cable modem, the router, and the tv. Class, what have we learned? If the apartment is cheap and too good to be true, it’s most likely illegal. If you think you’re being screwed, try to stay one step ahead and sell their shit. Class dismissed!