Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Expense of Lessons Learned
Yesterday was the last day of my photography class at the Missouri Botanical Garden. This was actually my second class, so for the past ten Tuesdays I have been at the garden for class. Tough job, I know, but someone has to do it. Scott is a really great instructor, with the exception that he likes to show too many slides. Yes, I did say slides. He uses those photos because he wants to impress upon us that no alterations have been made to the pictures. No Photoshop, no Lightroom, no iPhoto - well you get the...errrr...picture. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at his photos. Just not for 45 minutes in a darkened room on hard plastic chairs. Especially when it is beautiful outside and we could be taking shots.
Since it was pretty hot out yesterday, we only went outside for a little over an hour. He worked with each of us one on one to make sure we didn't have any last minute questions. Two of us had just gotten polarizing filters, so he talked to us about proper use of those. Then we went back inside for - surprise! - a PowerPoint slide show of his photos. He can't seem to get his timing down, so this ran past the end of class. I had to excuse myself because I had places to go and people to see. All in all, I learned a great deal from the classes and am glad I took them.
Katie forgot to take her business cards with her to Prague, and she needs them next week. On the way home from the garden, I stopped at the post office to send those over to her. I needed to catch a quick bite to eat because I had a dental appointment at 2:00, but I had a phone all and email that needed to be dealt with first. Both of these were from the father of one of Katie's roommates from Chicago. We have one last outstanding issue with their apartment.
When the three girls signed the lease last year, we got the apartment management to agree to a nine month lease. For this privilege, we paid an extra premium each month, but it still resulted in costing less than a twelve month lease. Katie told the management in March that they would be moving out, and asked questions about reserving the elevator (such as did they all have to move at the same time - which is what we had to do when we moved them in - and what else did they need to do before moving out, etc. She was told they could move out separately, and to reserve the elevator with the door person at the front desk. Flash forward to May, when Lauren went to reserve her elevator time check into moving out. The girls were informed that they did not give proper sixty days written notice for moving out. Apparently that clause is in the lease. But come on - we paid extra for the nine month lease, they KNEW the girls were going to be moving out June 6th! They then gave the girls a letter dated May 10 stating that they needed to pay an additional 45 days of rent at the new "market rate" plus a premium. The bottom line is that they said we owe an additional $5,200! The office said that they had placed a move out packet under the girls door more than 60 days prior to the expiration of the lease, telling them how to avoid extra charges. Right! All three girls walked over the packet and no one picked it up. Numerous other kids in the building also were facing this same issue and said they had never received the packet.
Now this all occurred just as the girls were studying for finals, and they were all worked up about it as you can imagine. Their numerous attempts to reason with management fell on deaf ears. I told Katie to try and put it out of her mind and that we would see what we could do after finals. We all decided to have the girls get their stuff moved out before we created any additional waves on the issue, so the apartment didn't hold anyone's items hostage. Lauren's dad is an attorney, so we put our heads together and came up with all the reasons we think we are in the right. Yesterday he sent a letter via email and also certified mail to the AMLI management. It was written as only an attorney can write, and I think makes our case. My fallback position personally is that I would agree to pay our third for the month of June at our old rate if I have to. Hopefully the legal letterhead will end this thing now. So the lesson here? Read the lease closely!
On a funny note, at the dentist's office yesterday the next hygienist over from mine (separated by a partial wall) was treating a six year old girl and her four year old brother. "You know what?" the boy questioned. "I tricked the tooth fairy! I put a lemon seed under my pillow instead of a tooth!" When life hands you lemons...