Dear PoP – A Note to College Interns & Recent Graduates (by Pretty Smart)

mold 2

The following was written by blogger Pretty Smart.

Dear College Interns & Recent Graduates:

The next time the carpet in the bedroom of your summer sublet is wet and changing colors, please call your landlord and let her know. This changing color is due to mold that is caused by a leak in the building. The leak, and subsequently the mold, cannot be fixed unless you tell someone. This is why your lease states

32 Comment

  • “Williams and Mary”


  • Dear Slumlord,

    Next time you rent out your overpriced condo, don’t expect the busy intern to promptly let you know about the mold. Hint: They don’t care about your place. I hope the 3 days of work was worth it for having them paying your mortgage for 3 months. Rule of thumb… make your security deposit higher if you can’t take the risk. You still got the better deal, and just be glad they didn’t do worse.

    Pretty Dumb

  • Wow, talk about passive agressive.

  • oooops! that was totally by bad

  • Fantasy: Renting to college students and expecting anything other than absolute neglect.

    Reality: Even average-to-good, non-drunk tenants generally have no idea what constitutes a problem. Especially when it won’t be their problem in a month or two. Unless something physically doesn’t work (and sometimes even then) they might not bother. You should check in once a month until you have established a very good dialogue with your tenants or otherwise trust them to know what they need to tell you about.

    It seems obvious to you, but I’ve met perfectly intelligent people who wouldn’t even blink if a pipe was leaking. “You mean it’s not supposed to do that?” Really. It may not seem like rocket science, but some people have never seen a screwdriver.

  • Dear Absent Landlord,

    As someone that has owned a thing or two in my short time on this earth, I generally like to check up on its condition from time to time when I lend it out to someone for three months at a time. As you clearly have three days to “waste” cleaning your festering fungal sublet, a quick “once over” every now and again clearly should not be a problem. I guess one lives and learns.


    Floor Troubadour

  • Ranting on POP has clearly become a proceed at your own risk activity.

  • Also, I think PoP has found his polar opposite bloggernality.

  • Mandarin, Why do you immediately assume that because I’m a landlord I must be a slumlord? I take great care of my properties, respect my tenants privacy, and do not overcharge. In fact, I’m barely breaking even. I don’t know what kind of tenant you are, but as a human being and former tenant, I expect others not to destroy a place just because they can. In two years of being a landlord this is the first time I’ve rented to students despite my friends’ warnings, and its the only time I’ve had a problem with tenants. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.But clearly I learned my lesson. And now I know why landlords hate renting to students.

  • @Pop

    And, the purpose of posting comments from another blogger????

    I have a bad feeling Pretty Smart does not quite get the concept of being a blogger. You don’t make friends with salad and postings to college interns & recent graduates. All the best to Pretty and…

  • @PS,

    Sorry, I was taking my frustration with Landlords I have had who have been jerks. I went a year without a washer and dryer one time and emailed landlord once a week. Laundramats suck. Don’t take it personally.

  • Damn there is alot of negativity on this blog lately from posts and commentors. Lets here from everyone in Poopville!

  • OH NO – the slum lord strikes again. What is next circa 2008 campaign rhetoric that this is all because of the 8 years of failed George Bush policies. (Look how that is working out-preventive detention, continued presidential signing statements, and fishy emails-holy sh*t we did get 8 more years-but it is ok right-he is a democrat. I will digress no further)

    This private school soft kid did not notify the landlord due to yet learning how to pick up after himself which is supported by facts due to his inability to clean the house. Why on this earth would anyone support the cause of an individual who attends one of the most expensive law schools in the nation? Most have nothing in common with this privilaged child and his inability to notify the landlord perpetuates stereotypes of an individual whos life is made doing little except crawling out of his mother.

  • For whatever reason, the ability to post anonymously on websites makes people act like assholes; here’s but one article addressing the issue:

    oh, and go to hell. Wait…never mind – i used my real name. Let’s meet for drinks!

  • Wow, these comments turned out quite different than I expected. I feel bad for you, Pretty Smart. Engaged tenants are a blessing. I haven’t had the misfortune of running into someone like this. We dealt with a small leak due to a clogged drain one day this past spring when it was pouring for weeks straight. The water got in and caused minor damage to the pergo floors in the unit. If the tenant hadn’t been proactive, the amount of water that got in would have been much greater. 1 day of inactivity by the tenant would have resulted in trashing most of the floor. A market-rate security deposit would not come close to covering that disaster. I’m fully aware of this risk, but if I end up paying the price one day due to a tenant’s inaction, I’ll go through the f’ing roof.

  • I’m guessing that for every one situation like this there are at least two or three in which the landlord willingly lets a property fall to this level of disrepair or worse. Your complaints are valid – they should have contacted you – but when I worked in property management it was common knowledge that students and interns were only slightly better than section 8 folks in terms of how poorly they will treat their units. Lesson learned [the hard way].

  • When you’re a student, calling the landlord over means you’ve got to find someplace to stash the 4 foot bong and/or other illegal stuff lying around. That’s the last thing you want to have to do when you’re living it up during the summer between graduation and law school, while you dick around making copies and getting coffee for that Senator who graciously accepted your dad’s sizable campaign fund donation.

  • pretty smart, as a former landlord i’ll say you did get lucky. short term renters are generally the most difficult. they dont’ own the place and they will soon be gone so..they have neither a financial or an emotional attachment. just a stop over, might as well be a motel 6. in the future get as much of a damage deposit as you can.

  • @ Ohio Player: William & Mary is a public school broseph, def not “one of the most expensive law schools in the nation.”

  • Wow, i clicked on her blog, and i see why she needed to get PoP to post the story here, where people actually read.

  • Naw man, my tenants mow my f’in lawn and cook my food. Sheeeit. What else you expect? Oh, right, beer!

    Nice one pretty smart, very well written, can I use it in my next apartment application form, hahaha? (seriously!, It’s amazing what they will call about and what they won’t)

  • This posting just reminded me of the goal I am working towards: once housing prices recover enough that I can get back my investment, I’m selling and leaving the landlord business! Sigh.

  • Snide, sarcastic and angry commenting is NOT part of the beautiful life.

  • Totally different commenting than I thought, but I consider myself a pretty darn good tenant. Back in Philly during college, I lived in a house with 6 guys, one girl, and myself, and that place was a dump – roaches, mice, etc. We weren’t particularly dirty but it was just the life of a rowhome in West Philly. When our lease was up, I asked my landlord if he had a studio/eff/1br that I could rent from him since he was a great landlord (he exterminated but our neighbors all had roaches and mice), and he was more than happy to because he knew how clean my room in the old house had been. When I left, he told me he was disappointed I was moving out of the area because he had the “college” apartments and also nicer more grown-up apartments, and that I was his best tenant he’d had in awhile. When I moved to DC, my landlord isn’t exactly bad, just… long-distance (he’s out in MD while my apt is downtown). Last September I was on travel for a week, and when I came back, the apartment upstairs had a leaky pipe and my water heater closet was FILLED with mold. Obviously I called my landlord right away and they redid all of the moldy parts (my water heater closet shares a crawl space with the kitchen, and the kitchen wall also had mold on it). I’m not sure why anyone would want to live with that?!

    Pretty Smart – I’m really sorry that these idiots did this to you – but not all college kids are this bad! I’d say the fact that it was a 3 month lease probably was the kicker – even when I lived in Pittsburgh with a 6 month lease, you have the mindset that you aren’t there that long (I was still clean, but I could see the mentality). I agree though – checking in on the apt is your right as a landlord (is it? I feel like it should be!), but you’d think after only 3 months things couldn’t get this bad!

  • While obviously the behavior of the tenant was weird (only explanation I can think of was that they weren’t at the apt much / sleeping somewhere else most nights but even that’s no excuse) but my question is: would the damage have been any less if they had contacted you right away? I mean, I’d still be pissed (and baffled) if this happened to me but dealing with maintenance (including major things like this) is part of being a landlord. It’s a business. This could have happened even if the tenant had behaved responsibly.

    In cases where the damage done is a lot more than what’s covered by the security deposit, I wonder if there’s a way to go after the tenant in small claims court (when the damage is the tenant’s fault — which doesn’t sound like the case here– I doubt they *caused* the mold, they were just stupid for not telling you about it as soon as they saw it).

  • Was the property in tip top shape to begin with? It looks like old crappy carpet with holes in it to begin with.

    Certainly, the tenant should let you know what’s going on, but when you rent a ratty place out, the renter isn’t going to care if it’s just a little more rundown because of issue A or B.

  • I am glad people put Pretty Smart in her place. As a landlord this is part of the cost of doing business. If you don’t understand that then you probably shouldn’t be a landlord. You have to price your rent and your security deposit to cover this kind of damage.

    As a renter they have no ownership claim in the condition of the property it is your job to make sure that it is well maintained.

  • I can understand being frustrated about this irresponsibility. as someone who will be subletting their apt in the near future, thanks for letting me learn from your mistake.

  • Pretty Smart, are you really blaming the temporary tenants for the mold? I think you need a reality check. For the price you were renting the room to them, I bet they probably thought the mold was included.

  • For the record, students make terrible roommates too.

    Try living with a full time student when you’re a full time employee. Not only do they think coming home at 3am wasted every week night is normal, they bring their friends, who hook up on your couch. Students don’t value a dollar, they mooch off you like they’re still in college, and for god’s sake STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL. Every conversation is about what they learned that day/week/month and who said what in class. News flash: there are more interesting things in life than your over-priced education that your parents pay for.

  • seems like the mold (or at least the lek) was a pre-existing condition… 3 months and half the room was covered? you really knew nothing about this before renting it out?

  • This is my first time posting, but I felt obligated to because I’m really bothered that PoP would publish this. It’s mean. And it unfairly labels all recent graduates and interns as irresponsible and selfish. I realize a whole bunch of them are, but there are also a lot of irresponsible, self-dealing and greedy landlords out there too. Pretty smart got stuck in a bad situation, but that is what security deposits are for. Also, you do have right to inspect your property, and you probably should have done so.

    Sure, interns and younger people can be irresponsible, but maybe instead of ranting and raving on a website, you should have sat them down and ranted at them instead. Then they would be learning a valuable lesson, and we all would not have to hear about it.

    PoP, I have always admired your upbeat blogsite–please don’t stoop to letting such negative posting on here.

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