Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

I’m wondering if readers might have advice regarding a housing situation I find myself in. Late last year, I toured a brand new building in Columbia Heights and applied to rent a place. I was approved for a February 1 move-in date. In December, I found out my move-in date was moved to March 1. I know this was a red flag, but I figured a new building would come with some hiccups and I was month-to-month at my previous place.

So, from December until last Tuesday (February 26) I operated under the assumption I would move in March 1 – I signed the lease, arranged for movers, reserved my new apartment’s loading dock, gave my 30-days notice to my old place, etc., and was in regular contact with my new management company. At this point, it’s important to mention that the new lease includes a clause absolving the management company of all responsibility for move-in delays due to construction of the building (this section made me skeptical, but I went against my better judgment and signed away, which was a big mistake on my part). Then on Tuesday, February 26, I found out my move-in date had been changed to March 5 – 8 because the building doesn’t have its certificate of occupancy.

Since this was less than three days before I was supposed to move in, I started to panic a bit. However, the management company assured me they would pay for a hotel room and I would still be able to move my belongings into the new apartment on March 1 and occupy the apartment shortly thereafter. They also offered a free month of rent and a returned move-in fee ($500). Seeing as I wouldn’t have to rearrange the mover and would be staying in a free hotel room, I decided to take them at their word (again, huge mistake on my part).

Today, I found out I won’t be able to move in until MAYBE April 1, but they can’t tell me for sure when my new move-in date will be (and even if they could tell me a specific date, I’m sure they could just push it back again). The management company also explained they will be extending the hotel reservation until March 13, but after that I’m on my own. I pushed back on this over the phone, but the management company was resolute that the company could not afford the hotel room past then (at this point I was informed the management company is currently paying for 19 hotel rooms and would extend everyone’s accommodations only through March 13).

What would others do if in my situation? I don’t know how I could push them further on the hotel room. Therefore, the way I see it I can: (1) break the lease I signed, hope they don’t throw my stuff out on the street, and scramble to find a new place; or (2) try to stick out an undetermined amount of days staying in Airbnbs / with friends. Any guidance or resources are much appreciated.


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