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Posted by DESPERATE!!! on June 01, 2001 at 14:55:39:

Four friends and I recently acquired a very VERY nice place in Berkeley (hard to find housing) through Rental Solutions, basically an agency that works on commission (60% of first month's rent). The place is very nice and we absolutely love it. It's a 4 unit house with 17 bedrooms (3 with 4 bedrooms, 1 with 5). It has great features, one of them being that we would get 1 spot in the 2 car garage and 1 spot tandem outside of the garage. I own a respectable car (VW Passat with some expensive modifications) and a secure garage was one of my top priorities.

Today, the first day of our 12 month lease @ $3200/month, I went to get the keys. The super comes around because he still has a lot of work to do, the previous tenants moving out only yesterday and him working day and night to get the place ready (this we understood and it is very admirable). in any case, he shows me the keys and I ask him where our garage key is. Much to my utter surprise (shock really), he says we don't get the garage OR even two parking spots. Both one of my friends and I have cars we're bringing up to school (we live kinda far but that's not the point anyway) and we did this understanding that we have 2 parking spots. The super tells me that the garage spot we were supposed to have is reserved for the 5 bedroom unit above us (our unit is in the middle of 3 floors) and the other one is for the unit below us (because there is an internal door from the garage to their unit...btw, the fourth unit is in the back). now this is a horrid surprise to me and presents a very very difficult problem. that's why i've spent the last 2 hours scouring the net for some recourse or for options available to me.

here's the deal: we do have a written lease that all 5 of us gone over with sufficient paranoia since we're students and afraid to get ripped off in this god forsaken hellhole (berkeley that is, not the place). chaulk it up to oversight but all five us assumed the spaces were ours. the spaces were NOT mentioned in the aggreement, which means that in writing, it wasn't assigned to us or NOT assigned to us. there simply was no clause mentioning them at all. so why did we assume the spots were ours?

OBVIOUSLY because we were told they were ours by 1) the agent at rental solutions and 2) the landlord himself. furthmore, because we were getting kicked out of the dorms 2 weeks before we could move into our new place we even asked if the landlord could help us out somehow with the transition. he said he would TRY to get the previous tenants to vacate the garage space so we could temporarily store out things there from our dorms until we could move in. we understood this to be a possibility and didn't rely on it of course. BUT the point is that from all indications, we were told we would get 2 spaces and given no reason that we wouldn't.

i understand that this is falling into the verbal agreement arena and is further complicated by the fact that the agent presented this unit to us with the assumption that there was parking. allow me to elaborate more. Rental Solutions (the agency) works by screening tenants who ask them to find housing for them. they first find out if the tenants are good ones (which they match up with good landlords, and vice versa). you give them a criteria of what you are looking for in a place. we gave them our list which included 1-2 parking spots. our agent gave us this listing emphasizing that it matched all our requirements and stressed the fact that there was 2 spots, one garage and one off-street space. we also signed an agreement to rent based upon such information. this agreement is not the same as the lease with the landlord.

the super showed me the garage space we thought we would have. it is occupied by some junk and an derelict arcade machine, all of which are not actually used, but stored there. super said the people use it for storage because they can't park and get out of the car there (interesting). i imagine it MAY be possible to somehow come to an agreement with the tenants above to get that spot but its not for certain and may require us to pay more money (something that we do not want to do at all). we want to get the parking spot we were told we would get from the landlord. we firmly believe that if there was a mistake on the part of the landlord or the agency in advertising this place, they really need to find a way to fix it soon and without any further hassle to us. yes, perhaps it was our collective mistake for failing to enter a specific clause in the lease but again, the lease did not say whether we would get one or not, and we were again, under the explicity impression (perhaps not written but definitely verbal agreement) that we would get 2 spots.

currently the super is trying to get ahold of the landlord who is out of town to check on this. i fear for the worst. this is very distressing news to us. could anyone supply any advice or information about what we can do? i thank you all in advance! \

- kai pan
- desperate and parking spotless =(

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