Monday, May 2, 2022

Room for rent - a timeline


I am at Disneyland with my family. My roommate Shelley is home doin' her thing. Roommate #2 (henceforth to be known as The Former Roommate - TFR) has a surgery planned and her mom has come to town to help with the recovery.  The Mom brings her dog along. TFR allegedly tests positive for COVID.  Her doctors do not inform her. (I am willing to concede that this might have happened, but I am HIGHLY skeptical)


I am still at Disneyland with my family.  TFR has surgery.


(We didn't start documenting until later because we didn't realize it would be such a big thing.)

  • Dog peed at end of hallway
  • Dog peed at end of hallway for a second time that Shelley slipped and fell on 
  • Dog peed by garbage can in kitchen
  • TFR is discharged from the hospital
  • Dog peed by Shelley's hamper in her bathroom
  • Dog peed on Shelley's bath rug
  • Dog peed on rug in hallway 
  • Dog peed in hallway for a third time.
  • I arrive home from a weekend at my boyfriend's apartment to find pee on my bathroom floor.
  • Dog barking in the middle of the night, every night.
During all of this we are telling The Mom that we can't have her dog peeing everywhere.  She basically does nothing to stop him. She also doesn't seem to realize he's peeing everywhere - the only time she is aware is when we tell her.  To "clean up" the pee, she merely wipes it up with a paper towel or some toilet paper.  Shelley has to show her how to actually clean it.


  • Dog barking a lot before 7AM 
  • Dog eating cat food in Shelley's room
  • Dog peed at end of hallway for a 3rd time
  • Dog knocked over Seb’s food dispenser Shelley's room. (Seb is Shelley's cat)
  • Whenever the dog is left in TFR’s room it whines non-stop.
  • Dog barking after 11PM
  • Dog peed in my bathroom. Again. 
  • TFR is not doing well in her recovery and is readmitted to the hospital

Happy Birthday to Me!


Dog barking at 6am.  According to TFR, she is informed by her doctor that she tested positive for COVID.  She gets a second COVID test and it comes back negative. She DOES NOT inform us that she tested positive the week before.

  • Dog barking 2am
  • Dog peed in hallway bathroom again
  • Dogs were barking while I was trying to record for a job. Went to tell the mom that the dogs needed to stop barking.  On my way back to my room, I stepped in yet another puddle of dog pee. I used my teacher voice to tell her she needed to clean it up.  The Mom was on the phone and said, "Yeah, I'll clean it up in a minute." And I said to myself "Lord give me strength" and to her "No.  You'll clean it up NOW." She then came and wiped it up with toilet paper.  I then cleaned it with cleaner.
  • I walk into the bathroom first thing and find a used menstrual pad on the bathroom counter.
  • Shelley and I have had it.  I type up a letter laying out our grievances (all of the above along with the mom leaving trash everywhere, cooking food and leaving it on the stove overnight, not properly locking the front door at night, leaving lights on) and ask The Mom to find somewhere else to stay while in LA. I taped it on the bathroom door where she'd see it, and left for the weekend.
  • Dog eating cat food in Shelley's room
  • Dog peed at end of hallway for a 3rd time.
  • Shelley informs me that The Mom has basically ignored our request, but is at the very least cleaning things up in the apartment.


  • Dog peed in Shelley's bedroom. Again. Mom gave attitude when told.
  • Dog is barking incessantly. 


  • Dog is barking and The Mom is making no attempt to quiet him.
  • Another place is discovered in Shelley's bathroom that the dog has peed.
  • Shelley leaves for NY.
  • Happy Easter!

I arrive home after work to find yet more pee in the hallway.  I Lose. My. Sh**. Full on yell at The Mom.  I do not threaten her in any way, but I am not kind. Not my best moment. I call The Landlords (The Landlords are the former bishop of the YSA ward and his wife. We know them.  We love them.  They are the kindest people.) to see if there is anything we can do.  She says they will write an email and encourages kind, civil communication at all times, but to keep documenting.  The Mom has taken the dogs for a walk.  When she arrives back home, I apologize for losing my cool. I am civil to her from that point forward.  The Landlord sends an email stating that having The Mom's dog in our apartment is a violation of the lease and we have 3 days to move the dog out, or we will face eviction. (Legally The Landlord would have to give TFR - or any of us - 30 days to move out.) Even after cleaning up the pee, it seems to have soaked into the floor and now the hallway smells like dog pee.


More incidents of trash and food left out.  Dog whining loudly after midnight.  The Mom left the kitchen window unlocked and open overnight.  She and I have several encounters all initiated by her making statements or asking questions.  At one point she says that if her daughter is evicted, we will all be evicted.  I tell her that if it comes down to a choice between being evicted from my home and taking her dog to a kennel, I will take her dog to a kennel.  She interprets that as me threatening to make her dog "disappear". 


The Landlords inform Shelley and I that they will be dropping by for a surprise visit to verify that the dog is still there. The Landlord arrives in the evening.  My boyfriend answers the door, feels the tension that is about to happen and excuses himself to stay in my bedroom until it's over. I am in the kitchen cooking dinner.  The Mom happens to be sitting on the couch speaking with TFR on the phone.  TFR demands to know (over the phone) why The Landlord is there.  He informs them that he is simply there to verify.  TFR tells him that we have been harassing them and that I even brought over "the boyfriend" to "intimidate" them.  Anyone who has met my boyfriend will find that laughable.  My boyfriend is many wonderful things.  Intimidating is not one of those things.  TFR says she is sending a friend over who is an eviction specialist to speak with The Landlord.  He agrees to wait for her arrival.  While waiting, he verifies that the dog is - in fact - still in the apartment.  They have mere hours before the 3 days are up. Eviction Specialist Friend arrives and has a short conversation with The Landlord.  At this point there are 5 people in my house.  I am the only one of them who pays rent to be there.  The Landlord leaves, we go about our evening.  Late that night, TFR returns from the hospital.


I go pick up Shelley from the airport (Yes.  I have been living along with The Mom for a week). When we get home, TFR and The Mom are outside ostensibly waiting for someone.  We enter the apartment and there is a pan full of water on the stove with the burner on.  TFR and The Mom leave, never entering the house to turn off the burner.  Shelley leaves for the evening. TFR and The Mom return (according to what The Landlords later told us, they had gone downtown to talk to some kind of housing specialist and sent The Landlords and email making all kinds of false claims.) I receive a phone call from The Landlord informing me that TFR is claiming The Mom and the dog are legally allowed to be here because she (TFR) has COVID.  This is the first time we are hearing of a positive COVID test.  Shelley has underlying conditions that put her at higher risk from a COVID infection.  I knock on TFR's door to ask her about her COVID status.  She tells me that anything I have to say to her can be put in an email.  I inform her that we have a right to know if she has tested positive for COVID.  She tells me to put it in an email.  I step outside because I am LIVID.  I breathe and calm down enough to come back in to continue playing a board game with my BF (Ticket to Ride!).  I cannot find TFR's email address.  The Mom comes out to do something in the kitchen and asks what my question is.  I tell her we were informed that TFR had COVID.  She tries to play it off and says it was a false positive, that it was a rapid test, that she took another test and was negative.  I tell her it doesn't matter.  If she tested positive, we deserve to know that. (And also, if it was a false positive her whole argument for keeping the dog/TheMom here is void) The Mom tells me to text TFR and ask for her email address.  With the biggest of eye rolls, I do.  Shockingly, I receive no reply.  I then find TFR's email address and send her an email requesting a dated positive COVID test so that Shelley and I can assess our risk level and inform our respective communities of their risk.  12 hours later, we still have not received a reply, and Shelley sends a follow-up email requesting the same thing.  Shelley returns later that night.  TFR has been using a cushion from the couch (Shelley owns the couch) as additional support on her bed (she already had a large, firm cushion on her bed).  Shelley is not comfortable with this as TFR apparently had COVID and The Mom's dog has peed all over our apartment.  When The Mom comes out of the bathroom, Shelley asks her to get the cushion.  The Mom says okay, enters the bedroom, and never comes back out.  Shelley knocks on the door and asks for her cushion back.  TFR says, "You don't need it right now." Which may have been true, but was also beside the point.  Shelley explains her reasons for wanting the cushion.  TFR refuses to give it back.  Shelley continues to knock on the door continuously for a few minutes all the while asking for her cushion back.  She filmed it and is speaking calmly the entire time. (She later admitted that it was not her best moment and she probably shouldn't have leaned so hard into knocking on the door.). She did not attempt to enter the room and made no threats.  During all of this, TFR becomes distressed and CALLS THE POLICE telling them she is AFRAID FOR HER LIFE! Shelley decides she is not getting the cushion back and we all go to bed.  At 1:30 am, the police arrive.  They begin talking to Shelley.  I stay in my room as it seems they only want to talk to her.  Then I hear TFR say, "It was the other roommate too." Which is patently false.  I was present, but in no way involved in the incident.  I come out of my room to explain that to the police.  The Officers - who are, at most, 2 years older than Shelley and I, proceed to lecture us on how we need to have compassion for this poor girl and practice good communication.  We respond that we would love nothing more, but she won't communicate with us.  They brush it off, repeat the call for compassion, and then tell us they'll be sticking around for a few minutes until TFR can gather some things to go stay at a friend's for the night, and then they left the lights on and the door unlocked when they left.  Shelley and I are pretty wound up, so we spend some time debriefing before going back to bed.


Shelley and I have decided that this living situation is not ideal for any of us and are especially confused as to why TFR is fighting so hard to stay here when she clearly doesn't want to be here.  We compose the following email:

"After the events of the last 24-48 hours, it has become clear that for the mental, emotional and physical well-being of all parties, it would be best if you found somewhere else to live. 
We have, in good faith, tried to respect your request to have communication be in writing, but have received no communication from you regarding any of our questions or concerns.  It has made it frustrating and difficult, if not impossible, to try and resolve the current situation.
We would like to schedule some time to talk in person to discuss ways to resolve this and would love to see how we can be of help moving forward finding a solution that works for everyone.  If you would be more comfortable, you are welcome to have someone present as a witness, and the conversation will be recorded.
Shelley and I are available Monday, 4/25/22 at 2:30PM.  If that time doesn't work for you, please reply with some alternate times that do and we can reschedule.
If we don't hear from you, and you fail to be present on Monday, we will take that as an affirmation that you would like to move forward with eviction proceedings.  As far as we are concerned, eviction is an absolute last-resort option and we would much rather work together to find a suitable alternate housing solution for you.
Please let us know at your earliest convenience if Monday afternoon works for you."

We hear nothing back from her.  We have also emailed her twice more about COVID and heard nothing back.  She does not return to the apartment.


2:30pm, Shelley and I meet at the appointed time.  TFR has not contacted us, and has not shown up.  A friend of Shelley's sent her a Facebook post from TFR linking to a GoFundMe campaign titled "Faced with unfair eviction during hospitalization".  The Facebook post read, "Hi everyone, if you could help I would highly appreciate it.  It's insane the amount of unfortunate things that have happened in the last 2 weeks.  I don't understand how people can be so evil to make someone who is recovering from major surgery, COVID-19, being hospitalized, be evicted then harass them out of there place. It's unfair and exhausting to be going through this while I'm also in school full-time.  There are more details on my gofundme, please help if you can." (spelling is hers).  The GoFundMe page reads:

 "I feel unsafe at home, and I need funding to find emergency housing and to pay legal & medical fees.

On April 8, I had a medically required breast reduction surgery. I was sent home directly after surgery, and I experienced worsening fever and fainting during recovery.  I went to the ER with my complaints and was just sent back home, told that it was all due to having had major surgery. Two days after my ER visit and five days after my surgery, I received a call from my doctor letting me know that I had tested positive for COVID-19 on the day of my surgery. They operated on me when they were not supposed to. As soon as I was aware, I went to get tested for COVID-19 at my nearest urgent care, and I then received a negative test. However, while I was at the Urgent Care clinic, I fainted and was sent over to the ER again. I was then admitted to the hospital for eight days to recover from major surgery and the worsening residual effects of COVID-19. As if this whole stress wasn't enough, while hospitalized and taking full-time courses, I received a three-day eviction notice for having my mom and her small ESA dog stay over in my shared apartment to help me recover.

Despite multiple letters from my doctors that I needed my mom's company for my safety and documentation that my mom's dog is an ESA dog, my landlord continues to threaten to evict me. Returning "home," I face the continued threat of being evicted and roommates harassing me, my mom, and my dogs. They have been verbally abusive and have threatened to take my mom's ESA dog. My roommate has even yelled at my mom that her dog would be "disappeared." I feel unsafe at home, and I need funding to find emergency housing and to pay legal & medical fees.

If anyone knows of any affordable housing or resources, please comment below. 

I appreciate any help at this time."

You will recall that she has at this point not received an eviction notice, and really, is not even under threat of eviction.  And also, no one told her mom they would "disappear" her dog.  So, we write this email:


We never heard from you regarding speaking in person today, so we will assume that is an option you would not like to pursue. 
We were made aware of your GoFundMe campaign, and understand from the post that you are looking for new housing. Due to that, we will not be instructing the landlords (cc'd here) to move forward with eviction proceedings (though they may independently decide to do so).  Again, we have not received any communication from you since you went into the hospital for surgery on April 8th, 2022, and can only guess at your plans moving forward based on the limited information you've made publicly available.
We will move forward with the assumption that you will be moving out on June 1st, and will still be responsible for May's rent. We will need to show the bedroom to prospective roommates and will document that process as it occurs by filming all such showings.  We will do nothing more than open the door for them so they can get an idea of the dimensions and amenities of the bedroom.
We hope you have success raising the funds you seek through your crowd-funding campaign, however you make several fraudulent claims in your post that violate the terms and agreements of the GoFundMe website:
You were not served with a 3-day eviction notice.  We were collectively served with a 3-day notice of removing your mom's dog from the apartment (which at the time of said notice was violating the terms of the lease).
No one ever said they would make your mom's dog "disappear".  That is a verifiably false and spurious claim.
In your update comment you claim that your "roommates" began to bang and "yell" at your door.  It was only one roommate, and two witnesses along with video evidence can confirm that she never yelled at your door.  
You claim to have received a positive COVID test result, but after multiple requests you still have not provided proof of a positive test result.
We respectfully ask that you correct this information so that anyone who donates to your campaign does so with no false pretenses.  If you fail to correct the information within the next 24 hours, we will report your campaign.  We truly want you to have the financial support of your community, but feel that that support doesn't have to come at the expense of the truth.
As we understand that you don't feel safe here, please inform us when you plan to pack and move your belongings and we will do our best to either be out of the house, or make reasonable accommodations to remain in our bedrooms for the day.
If you have any questions or concerns, as always you can reach us via email or phone."


8:15pm. We FINALLY receive an email from TFR:

Hello Everyone, 

I am not aware of the exact dates that I was positive however as stated on the email that was only addressed to The Landlords that was later shared with you guys without my consent (It was not.  The Landlords called to let us know she'd tested positive), I know I was positive on April 7th. I’ve been negative since the day I was made aware on April 13th. As you know I’m bedridden (She is not, as is evidenced by her leaving the house while the stove was on), recovering simultaneously from my major surgery and covid.Therefore I am responding as soon as my medical condition allowed me to (Our first email was 5 days before.  She'd had time to do A LOT in that five days, but evidently a quick response to an email was beyond the scope of her capabilities). Thank you in advance for understanding. Also feel free to throw away any food that’s gone to waste. In regards to everything else please stop harassing me with claims. (???) I will have my items removed by the 30th of April at 11:59pm. I ask that I only have communication directly from The Landlords as they are the owners of the apartment. 

Best Regards"

She also apparently sent a separate email to The Landlords explaining that she was moving because she was being forced out and harassed and intimidated and feared for her safety.  Ostensibly this is her building a case so she doesn't have to pay rent in May, as she'd otherwise be legally on the hook for it. 

In a conversation with The Landlords, they said we'd figure out what to do about May rent.  They also said we could take a cleaning fee out of TFR's deposit.  You may remember the dog pee that started this whole adventure.


TFR comes with The Mom, 2 sets of Mormon Missionaries, and a couple of friends to begin packing up.  Shelley and I sit on the couch quietly working on various things - getting some subtly confused looks from the people walking in the door.  At this point we don't necessarily trust TFR, so we want to be around when she's moving.  They finish whatever they want to for the day and leave. One the way out the door, Shelley reminds TFR that she still owes money for April's internet bill.  TFR is caught a little off-guard and sort of stammers out, " to the landlord," and then leaves.  We find this odd.  She does end up paying Shelley for the internet.  This reminds me that TFR will need to pay her share of April's power/water bill.  I send her a text telling her that she can either pay an estimated amount based on our typical bill (which doesn't vary much), or I can send her an exact bill when it comes in June (our bill comes every two months).  I hear nothing from her.


TFR comes to move out most of her stuff.  I am at work most of that day, but come home toward the end and work quietly on my computer at the kitchen table (see above about wanting to be present for the packing up of apartment things).  I take a moment to ask her what she'd like to about April's power bill.  She responds in a way that makes it clear she is NOT happy to to talk to me at all, "Can we just deal with that later?  I have so much going on right now. And why are you even out here?  You literally have a desk in your room." And I respond, "Well, I live here, so I can be wherever I want." And she says, "I live here too." And while she has paid her rent through the end of the month,  A - her living there has nothing to do with me sitting at the kitchen table, and B - she'd have a hard time proving to anyone that she was, in fact, living there.  I just told her we could deal with the power bill later.  I had also noticed that they'd cleaned all of her things out of the bathroom except some over-the-door storage she had hanging on the back of the bathroom door.  I thought perhaps they just hadn't seen it so I said, "Also, just want to make sure you got your storage thing from on the bathroom door." She said, "Can you just not..." and I calmly said, "TFR, I just want to make sure you got your stuff." And she said, "Well, the less words from you the better." Which I think perfectly sums up her approach to communication during a conflict which is how we ended up where we are.  I wanted to tell her that part of being an adult is dealing with the consequences of one's actions, which is what she's in the middle of dealing with.  And that paying the power bill is part of those consequences.  And that she could have simply said, "I'd like you to send me a Venmo request when you get the bill."  I wanted to tell her that despite what she believes, and is apparently telling the whole world, we are not out to get her.  But I don't say any of that.  


TFR moved the remainder of her things out.  In the process she took the roll of toilet paper from the holder in the bathroom, the light bulbs from her bedroom, and a dish soap refill which she did not buy.  At no point during all of this did TFR or The Mom apologize for the dog pee. Shelley and I breathed a huge sigh of relief to essentially have this finally be over.


I want to be perfectly clear about something - TFR was not evicted.  She did not receive an eviction notice. Neither she, The Mom, nor the dog was ever threatened - and in fact, Shelley and I made conscious efforts, even in our not-the-best moments, to make sure we weren't being threatening. As far as Shelley and I are concerned, she was not harassed or intimidated, though I'm willing to concede she may have felt that she was. She chose to move out on her own. 

Shelley and I didn't want TFR to move out.  All we really wanted was to have the dog stop peeing on the floor.  I mean, ideally we would have liked for The Mom to be a more considerate house-guest in general, but would have settled for no more dog pee.  This entire situation was exacerbated by the fact that The Mom doesn't drive, so we were having to wait until TFR was recovered and feeling well enough to drive her back home to Central California.

There were a few more incidents - and certainly things that happened between TFR and The Landlords - but it's been three weeks since this all started, so I can't remember everything. Plus, this gives you a pretty good idea of what went down from our perspective. Shelley and I each certainly had moments when we could have handled the situation better, but we each also recognize that, and have apologized to TFR or The Mom for those moments, have learned from them, and have done better afterward.  From our perspective, this spiraled out of control largely, if not entirely, because of TFR's decisions at every step of the way - the biggest and most detrimental of which being her refusal to communicate with us, especially because she was in the hospital for a large portion of what was happening.  A simple text or phone call very early on in the process saying, "Hey, my mom said such and such.  What's going on?" would have saved us all a lot of grief.  She became more and more childish and unreasonable with every passing day, and even now refuses to take any responsibility or recognize her part in this.  

For my part, I genuinely wish TFR well.  I want her to land in a place that is a good fit for her.  I want her to thrive and grow.  Shelley and I even discussed covering TFR's rent for May or reaching out through our own social networks to help her with a transition to a better living situation (though we cannot, in good conscience, do so now).  Of course, we were never able to communicate that with her.  If you want to donate to her campaign on GoFundMe, that would be a nice thing to do.  I know she and her mom would appreciate the support what with medical and moving expenses piling up.    

I will simply enjoy the extra storage space under the bathroom sink.

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