“So whadya think? Do we rent the place or do we still keep looking? It’s more expensive than we budgeted for.”

Charlie frowned as he thought about what Sky had said. Finally he decided.

“Let’s go for it, Sky. School’s starting soon, and it’s the best of the dumps that we’ve seen. As for the money, let’s get Jennifer into the deal. That way we can swing it.”

The students paid the deposit and moved in. Then the reality hit them.

“Sky, this place is a pig sty!”

“And nothing works.”

“Call the landlord. Tell him if he’ll reduce the first month’s rent by $200 we’ll clean up all the debris, the broken windows, the spider-filled kitchen cupboards, we’ll paint the bathroom.”

The landlord accepted.

Several days later, they were still cleaning.

“Oh Sky, we sure underestimated how much time this mess would take.”

Sky sank into the sofa. He tossed a beer at Charlie. “Have a beer, it’ll make you forget the misery we just went through.”

Then winter set in. Although they never got around to painting the bathroom, at least the place was clean. But it was sure cold. Charlie was blowing a gasket. “I can’t believe this! I’m freezing to death. Call the Health Authorities, Sky. We’ve got the landlord from hell!”

The Health guys came. “Don’t know what you’re complaining about. The temperature is at acceptable levels. But somebody is going to have to buy a smoke detector. It’s against the law to be without one.”

The boys forked over the money and Charlie now lost his cool. He stormed into the landlord’s apartment. “You monster. You’re as coldhearted as Dracula. We’re taking you to court for renting us a place that you wouldn’t even keep your dog in.”


Charlie piped up. “We had to spend over a week cleaning. Then we had to buy a $47 fire alarm and we had to buy winter clothes to get through the sub arctic conditions in the apartment! All together that’s at least $500 worth of expenses. Make that jerk of a landlord pay us back!”

“I’m never renting to students again!” the landlord retorted. “There was nothing wrong with the heating, and as far as the condition of the apartment goes, we had an agreement: they’d clean up the place and do some small repairs, and I gave them $200 off the first month’s rent. They should be paying me $120 since they never painted the bathroom!”

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“Hmmmmm let’s see,” muttered the Judge, with a calculator in hand. “The landlord owes the students $47 for the fire alarm, and the students owe the landlord $120 for failing to paint the bathroom; even if the cleaning and repairs did take longer than they expected, that was the agreement. And the Health Authorities said there was nothing wrong with the heating, so in the end the students owe the landlord $73.”